A day after India Against Corruption activists, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, alleged that real estate developer DLF had given properties worth crores to Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra for a song, DLF on Saturday refuted the charge saying that neither were unsecured loans given to Vadra nor was he given premier properties at heavily discounted rates.
DLF said it had business dealings with Vadra’s companies but denied that this relationship had led to undue gains for the company or that there was any quid pro quo with the Congress-run government of Haryana for land allotment. The response from the realtor, in the form of questions and answers, came even as several ministers, including finance minister P Chidambaram and law minister Salman Khurshid, rubbished the charges on TV networks.
In a statement, DLF said it had given “business advances” of . 65 crore in two tranches to Vadra-owned company, Skylight Hospitality, which it claimed was “standard industry practice”. It denied that this was an unsecured interest-free loan. The first payment of . 50 crore was made in 2008-09 for a 3.5 acre plot in Gurgaon’s Sikohpur village as part of a total consideration of . 58 crore for the plot. Another . 15 crore was paid to Skylight Group for a plot in Faridabad, but the amount was refunded as the deal did not materialize.
On Vadra purchasing an apartment in the Aralias complex in Gurgaon, DLF said he paid . 11.9 crore in September 2008 at the prevailing market price of . 12,000 per sqft. “We may also mention that while Aralias was initially launched at . 1,800 per sqft, Vadra’s purchase at . 12,000 per sqft is among the highest at which the company sold apartments in Aralias. The alleged figure of. 89 lakh as total purchase consideration is completely incorrect.”
Reacting to allegations of corruption, Robert Vadra on Saturday reassured his well-wishers on Facebook: “Thanks for the concern; I can handle all the negativity. I have lost people I loved…what can be worse than that.” The reply was the first from Gandhi family’s son-in-law since Friday when activists Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal accused him of acquiring properties currently valued at 500 crore from DLF. Finance minister P Chidambaram dismissed the demand for an inquiry into Vadra’s assets. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari dubbed the allegations as a “concert between BJP and its B-team headed by Kejriwal”.