The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, asked the central government to respond to charges levelled against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, by India Against Corruption (IAC) member Arvind Kejriwal.Kejriwal and Supreme Court lawyer Prasant Bhushan had alleged that Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi had been hugely favoured by realty major DLF.
IAC has raised the question as to why DLF should grant Vadra an interest free loan of Rs.65 crore with which Vadra went on to buy properties from DLF at a very nominal price.
However, DLF has denied that any such loan was provided to Vadra. Being a public limited company, this declaration is quite significant. On the basis of such allegations and DLF’s defence, it would be injustice to make a judgement on a prima facie. But, it must be said that this episode once again unveils the business class-politicians nexus.
Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd is the centrifuge of Robert Vadra’s business empire. The company in which Vadra is a director had received Rs.65 crore as advance from DLF Ltd as on March 31, 2011. IAC is alleging that this advance received by Vadra was used to purchase a welter of properties from DLF at below market prices.
Vadra received a business advance of Rs.65 crore as the total price paid for one plot of land which was bought and duly registered on the National Highway 8. Skylight Hospitality, with a registered address at 268, Sukhdev Vihar, was incorporated on November 1, 2007, as a company listed by shares with an authorised capital of Rs.1 crore and a paid up capital of Rs.5 lakh, and the registration number of 170056. India Against Corruption (IAC) is alleging that all of Vadra’s companies had no income from legitimate business activity and yet Vadra managed to buy properties worth Rs.300 crore.
The allegations raised by IAC against Robert Vadra sound like bolt from the blue for the Congress Party particularly when the assembly elections of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are knocking at the door. The assembly elections of some other states also will be held towards the end of 2013 and Lok Shabha election (2014) is also at hand. In such a time, allegations of corruption raised against the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi means that a spate of scandal against Sonia Gandhi herself has begun. There is no denying in the fact that these allegations would definitely bring a negative result in future. The allegations undoubtedly have embarrassed Sonia Gandhi. Her moral authority has definitely been badly diminished by the Vadra- DLF scandal. Hence, she has directed the Congress ministers to resort to counter attacks. The obedient ministers and Congress leaders such as Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni have begun defending Vadra. Law minister Salman Khurshid even went to the extent of saying that a lesson would be taught to Kejriwal and the cofounder of his party, Prashant Bhushan, whom the minister described as “political upstarts.” Rajiv Shukla, Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs said, “This allegation is nothing new. A year ago he (Kejriwal) tried to sell it to the newspapers but nobody bothered. Now he is trying again. Vadra is a businessman, he is not doing kheti (farming).All businessmen take loans to build their business. May be Vadra also did that. What is wrong with that? But there is nothing to prove any wrongdoing, no proof that the Congress helped the DLF.” Well, there is no objection in it. Anybody can do business, earn profit. But, if one chooses to make fraud, financial anomalies in the name of business-he/she must not only be held responsible but also is to be treated as a criminal in the eyes of law.
Reacting to the controversy, Mr Kejriwal’s mentor Anna Hazare said that the Congress should investigate the activist’s allegations against Mr Vadra to bring the truth out. “If the allegations are proved wrong, then they have full right to file a defamation case against him,” he added. He further suggested that the Congress shouldn’t shy away from an investigation if they are sure that the allegations are wrong. Arvind Kejriwal himself has said he is ready to face a defamation case if the corruption charges he made against Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra yesterday, are proved wrong.
Now, it is really a matter of utter surprise why the Congress is silent on the merits of the case. If the allegations raised by IAC against Vadra are false, baseless, the UPA government should allow an independent probe in order to find out whether these allegations are baseless or not. But, instead of doing so the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi commanded all ministers, party workers to attack Kejriwal and Co. and defend her son-in-law Robert Vadra as if Vadra were not her son-in-law but the son-in-law of the Congress party.
It is clear that Sonia Gandhi’s moral authority has been badly diminished by the Vadra- DLF nexus. Time she distanced herself and the party she heads from the ugly doings of her son- in- law. It was sheer arrogance to have believed that questionable deals would never get exposed. The nation owes it to Arvind Kejriwal and his anti- corruption activists for spotlighting Vadra’s gross abuse of his marital links to become a millionaire overnight. Now the Kejriwal expose should be taken to its logical end and all the culprits ought to be named and shamed.