Sunday, May 19, 2013
Last Updated: 18 May 17:56 PM IST
14 October 2012
Issue 1 ~ The Robert Vadra revelations have proved, once again, that the Congress has no scruples
Gone are the days when the Congress assumed a high moral ground; especially with the party suffering repeated setbacks following the revelation of so many scams. Power has gone to the party’s head. The Robert Vadra revelations have definitely proved that this party can go to any extent possible to accommodate and, when the time comes, to defend the Nehru-Gandhi family in the face of even the most damning evidence of wrongdoing. The allegations against Mr Robert Vadra have been levelled by none other than Mr Prashant Bhushan, an eminent lawyer who knows the consequences of making false allegations against the son-in-law of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Despite Mr Vadra’s rebuttal, the allegations need to be thoroughly investigated to ensure that the party’s image does not suffer further. But I doubt how enthusiastic the Congress supremo will be in allowing the matter to be probed. The Congress will not let the cat come out of the bag.
8 october, kolkata
I had often wondered if in India all citizens are equal. In scams some people are more equal than others. Mr Robert Vadra is a citizen of India who happens to be the son-in-law of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. I am unable to understand why Mr Robert Vadra is given “Z” class security and not frisked at Indian airports. Mr Arun Kejriwal of India Against Corruption has accused Mr Robert Vadra of having obtained undue favour from realty major DLF and has rightly sought an explanation of DLF’s generosity in extending an unsecured loan of Rs 65 crore at zero per cent interest to Mrs Gandhi’s son-in-law.
Let us assume that there was no quid pro quo in this deal. Mr Vadra could refute the charges by sharing the facts. It is surprising that the Congress party has come out in force to defend Mr Vadra who is not even a member of the party. This raises genuine suspicion that all is not above board. Only time will tell if the Congress is trying to keep the skeletons locked.
8 october, kolkata
Yet another skeleton has tumbled out of the Congress’ closet. This time, it relates to Mr Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Mr Vadra has amassed a great fortune over the past five years. DLF extended favours worth Rs 300 crore to Robert Vadra in lieu of considerations from the Congress governments in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan between 2007 and 2010. DLF had helped companies owned by Mr Vadra with an unsecured loan of Rs 65 crore against a seed capital of merely Rs 50 lakh to purchase 13 properties worth 300 crore at throwaway prices. Most of these Vadra-owned companies did not transact any business between 2007 and 2010. The Congress government in Haryana, in particular, allotted a 350-acre plot acquired in public interest to DLF to develop a golf course and apartment blocks. Taking all facts into consideration, it can be concluded that there was certainly some wrongdoing on the part of Mr Vadra as also DLF. A probe is in order and if the allegations are proved to be false, the Congress could sue Mr Kejriwal for defamation.
gour kishore ganguly,
9 october, kolkata
Civil society activists-turned-politicians Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Prashant Bhushan have alleged that Mr Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, has improperly acquired several properties in and around New Delhi within a short span of time. The value of these properties is alleged to be disproportionately higher than the known sources of Mr Vadra’s income. Most of these properties were bought by Mr Vadra’s firms from the real estate major DLF. It has been alleged that DLF had received undue benefits from Congress-led governments in states of Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan. Properties sold by DLF to the son-in-law of the Congress chief at throwaway prices could well be a quid pro quo.
Mr Robert Vadra is not a member of the Congress party. In the fitness of things, the party should have distanced itself from the affairs of a private individual. But it is a tradition with the Congress party to protect the interests of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, irrespective of their black deeds. It supported the Emergency in 1975 and endorsed the Bofors deals. The Congress went to the extent of pressuring the CBI to exonerate Mr Ottavio Quattrochi, the alleged conduit of the Bofors bribes, thereby allowing him to go scot-free. If Mr Quattrochi was a friend of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mr Robert Vadra is family. No wonder the entire Congress has come forward to defend Mr Vadra.
9 october, narendrapur
It seems there is no let-up in the high-profile controversy stemming from the charge of corruption against Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Mr Robert Vadra. Despite Mr Vadra refuting the charge, civil society activist Mr Arvind Kejriwal insists that Mr Vadra has not answered vital questions on his links with the real estate major, DLF.
It may be recalled that Mr Vadra’s five companies had bought property worth crores of rupees between 2007 and 2010 with an “unsecured interest-free loan” of Rs 65 crore extended by DLF as alleged by Mr Kejriwal and Mr Prashant Bhusan. According to them, an analysis of the balance-sheets and audit reports of Mr Vadra’s five firms since 1 November 2007 made it clear that the total share capital of these companies was no more than Rs 50 lakh and that the firms together had “no income from any legitimate business activity save by way of interest derived from interest-free loans from DLF.” Yet, during 2007-10, these firms acquired properties for Rs 300 crore when those were worth way more than Rs 300 crore even at the time of their acquisition. Most of the properties were allegedly bought from DLF itself at “throwaway prices”. Seven flats, for instance, at Magnolia Apartments in DLF Gurgaon were bought for a total of Rs 5.2 crore by Mr Vadra’s companies when the market price of each flat at the relevant time was well over Rs 5 crore. In response to questions as to why the DLF would give unsecured interest-free loan of Rs 65 crore to Mr Vadra’s companies and then sell its own properties to them at a discount, the civil society activists, pertinently raised the question whether it was a quid pro quo for DLF in the form of benefits from Congress-ruled states like Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan. Despite the Congress’ protestations, there are questions that need to be answered urgently.
arun kumar bhaduri,
8 october, kolkata
The Robert Vadra revelations have undoubtedly proved that the Congress party is sinking with one scam tumbling out after another. Yet, surprisingly, the party remains unperturbed. If the allegations against Mr Vadra are proved, the party is likely to suffer an irreparable loss and injury. I think, there are still some leaders in the party who are honest and must take remedial measures. Otherwise, the Congress will find it very difficult to survive the next parliamentary election. But doubt still persists as Mr Manmohan Singh ~ who has a clean image ~ is yet to disassociate himself from the party. His loyalty towards the Congress supremo prevents him for taking bold decisions.
8 october, kolkata
Come to a conclusion
Civil society activists Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Prashant Bhushan alleged that realty major DLF had sweetened deals worth Rs 300 crore for Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Mr Robert Vadra in return for favours form the Congress governments in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. They firmly stated that between 2007 and 2010, DLF had helped companies owned by Mr Vadra and his mother with interest free unsecured loans of Rs 65 crore, against a seed capital of only Rs 50 lakh, to purchase 13 properties at a throwaway price of Rs 300 crore. The activists waved supporting documents they claimed were already in the public domain. According to Mr Bhushan, five of the 12 companies that Mr Vadra and his mother fully own didn’t transact any business between 2007 and 2010 except receiving loans from DLF and laundering these loans to purchase properties from DLF itself.
The Congress promptly responded to these allegations. Acting on the directions of Congress president and Mr Vadra’s mother-in-law, the party launched attacks against Mr Bhushan and Mr Kejriwal with all the clout it could muster. Senior ministers such as Mrs Ambika Soni, Mr Salman Khurshid and Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan were fielded to counter the allegations and had a hard time on television channels trying to defend the indefensible. They lost their temper, hurled counter allegations, made weak accusations, spokes of conspiracies and questioned the motive of the activists. But there is no denying that the documents the activists had provided at a Press conference constituted prima facie evidence. It is now for the government to investigate the entire matter and come to a conclusion.
narayan chandra ghosh,
9 october, nadia.
Benefits to DLF
Yes, the Robert Vadra revelations have added one more feather to the UPA II’s scam-adorned cap. The Congress government is already saddled with controversies and the Prime Minister is surprisingly silent. Leaders such as Mr Sharad Pawar are trying to shield the son-in-law of Mrs Sonia Gandhi by trying to sweep everything under the carpet. Mr Vadra had reportedly taken a whopping Rs 65 crore interest-free advance from DLF which is already burdened with a loan of Rs 2,000 crore. Mr Vadra has defended his case saying that his firm has already paid back Rs 15 crore and the balance Rs 50 crore will be spent on purchase of land. In reply to this, Mr Arvind Kejriwal ~ who shared the details of the scam in a Press meet ~ said that the facts furnished by Mr Vadra were mostly concocted, half-truths and lies. This has once again proved that the Congress can stoop to any low to serve its interests. Mr Kejriwal has rightly demanded a probe by retired Supreme Court judges into the business relationship between Mr Robert Vadra and DLF and a white paper by Haryana government on the benefits it allegedly extended to DLF.
10 october, kolkata