Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan target Robert Vadra
Allege that Vadra acquired properties worth hundreds of crores through favours from the state governments. Question source of funds
Photos: Shailendra Pandey
In a scathing attack on Robert Vadra, son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, India Against Corruption (IAC) activist-turned-politician Avind Kejriwal along with lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan on Friday 5 October claimed to expose what they termed “Vadra's corrupt dealings”.
According to Kejriwal and his team, they have evidence to show that Vadra received kickbacks from DLF, a major real estate group. Kejriwal and his team alleged that Vadra’s income rose from Rs 50 lakh to a whopping Rs 300 crore, thanks to land allotments.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, along with Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan alleged, “Robert Vadra got a 10,000 sq foot penthouse in DLF Aralia for Rs 85 lakhs whose market value when sold was Rs 25 crores, and today its value is Rs 40 crores.”
“Why did DLF give so much money to Vadra without any obvious benefit?” questioned Bhushan. He alleged that Vadra was “getting benefits” for DLF through the state governments of Delhi and Haryana, he said, adding that it should be probed by investigating agencies. “We have received all our information from RoC (Registrar of Companies). There are many other properties to be inquired into,” said Bhushan. He also questioned how Vadra took money from DLF to buy properties from the company.
“Hum is desh ke damaad hain isi liye kuch bhi kar sakte hain? (I am the son-in-law of the country so I can get away with anything),” Bhushan said, adding that the Congress party should respond to the allegations.
This time the attack has been specifically on a member of the Gandhi family, while earlier allegations of corruption were made against 15 ministers of the Union Cabinet. All these allegations have only been made in public and not taken to a court of law or investigating agencies by the now defunct Team Anna.
The Congress, of course, wasted no time in responding to the allegation. Its spokesperson Rashid Alvi dismissed the allegations as baseless. “All this looks planned before they launched their political party," said Alvi. Alvi's colleague Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit added, “It is wrong to drag a person who is not in politics. He is a businessman and it is wrong to make these allegations.”
According to Manish Tewari, spokesperson, Congress, the allegations were timed with an eye on the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. “These are baseless misconceived and utterly irresponsible allegations, coming on the eve of the Gujarat and Himachal elections. It shows civil society groups are nothing else but the B team of BJP. It has exposed the unholy nexus between the two. People of the country are wise enough to see through these machinations,” said Tiwari
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda defended his government, “Haryana government has never favoured anybody. We have always given the land to the highest bidder and in a transparent manner.”
The BJP, on the other hand, has asked for investigations. The BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Proper investigation is required into these allegations. A thief cannot be a policeman.”
"Allegations are false and baseless"
In a statement issued to the media, Robert Vadra has said that the allegations made against him by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan are “false and baseless”. He said that he is a law abiding citizen who has been engaged in business over the last 21 years.
“The allegations leveled against me by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan are false, baseless and defamatory,” he stated. Vadra added that his business transactions are reflected in financial statements filed before appropriate government authorities in compliance with the law, and were available in the public domain.
Vadra also said that he was, “saddened by the attempt by Kejriwal and Bhushan to misrepresent numbers contained in his financial statements, manufacture lies against me and malign me and my family in order to gain cheap publicity for themselves and for the launch of their political party.”