Congress defends Vadra, BJP demands judicial probe

     Crusader-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra had nearly trebled his earnings since being married into the Nehru-Gandhi family drew furious reactions from both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday. While the Congress party strongly defended Vadra against Kejriwal’s corruption charges, saying that these were without basis, foundation and false, the BJP immediately called for a judicial probe into the allegation. The Congress alleged that it was a "conspiracy" against the husband of Priyanka Gandhi. Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said: "These are all false allegations. This has been done under some controversy." “This looks like it was planned before they decided to form a political party,” he added.

Another Congress spokesperson, Sandeep Dikshit, said it was "wrong to drag in a person who is not in politics". "It is wrong to drag in a person who is not in politics. He is a businessman, and it is wrong to make these allegations," he added. The Congress further termed the allegations as "politically motivated" and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might be behind it. Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and senior Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said: "Robert is a businessman. Even before he got married to Priyanka, he had declared everything." "There is no proof that DLF was given any favour by him. There is no harm in taking any loan from any private company", asserted Shukla, adding that Vadra had nothing to hide. “This is all BJP's handiwork; they have been doing this behind the scenes. All allegations have been made to gain political mileage,” said Shukla Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the civil society and the BJP are "two sides of the same coin", and called the allegations "dirty politics". “We dismiss these allegations with the utter contempt that it deserves,” Tiwari added.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said: “We never allotted land to anyone, land was given only after bidding.” Reacting to the allegations, the BJP said it was immaterial as to who put the allegations, but if there were allegations, they must be investigated. Launching a direct attack on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the issue, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "This loot has been allowed by Sonia Gandhi. There should be full inquiry into the allegations." “Like Waterloo , this is Vadera-loo,” he added. Of Kejriwal, he said: “Jo chor woh chowkidaar nahi ho sakta (A thief cannot at the same time be a custodian of probity). He said that a proper investigation is needed into the allegations on Robert Vadra. Demanding a judicial inquiry, the BJP leader said: "After Coal Gate, this is loot of property …10 Janpath has become a house for property dealings."

Another BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asked: “Why did DLF give unsecured loans to Robert Vadra?...The nation wants to know? “Robert Vadra has property worth 1000s of crores, ask children in Faridabad , half the city belongs to him,” claimed yoga guru Baba Ramdev. Earlier this evening, the NGO India Against Corruption alleged that Vadra has acquired properties worth Rs.500 crores from nothing.

Addressing a joint press meet here, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashanth Bhushan questioned the source of these funds. They alleging that real estate giant DLF had sold Vadra prime land at throw-away prices, with interest-free loans. Kejriwal claimed that “all these transactions are in Congress-ruled states–Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi ”. He alleged that Vadra’s wealth grew from “Rs.50 lakh to over Rs.300 crore in three years”. , Kejriwal put forth the query,”Who will investigate”? “In the last 4 years, Robert Vadra has gone on a property buying binge and has purchased at least 31 properties mostly in and around New Delhi , which even at the time of their purchase were worth several hundred crores.

An analysis of the balance sheets and audit reports of five companies set up by him (and owned exclusively by him and his mother) on or after November 1, 2007, show that the total share capital of these companies was just Rs 50 lakh and these companies together had no income from any legitimate business activity (except by way of interest derived from interest free loans obtained from DLF),” said the statement from IAC, accusing Vadra of large-scale corruption in real estate dealings.

“Why did DLF give Rs 65 crore loan to Vadra without any interest? He bought DLF properties with that money at discounted rates … What benefit did Vadra provide to the Congress party for this? He bought property worth Rs 65 crore for Rs 5 crore … How did DLF benefit? There are many questions … There are four penthouses in one DLF property in Gurgaon. He brought these through a maze of five companies. We have details of 12 companies registered in the past few years — six registered in 2012 alone. A penthouse was sold in 2009 for Rs 89 lakh whose market value was Rs 25 crore then, and is now at least Rs 40 crore …” asked Prashanth Bhushan as h addressed the press. Robert Vadra hails from a brass and wood handicraft merchant’s family, has married Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

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