Arvind Kejriwal accused the Congress-led Haryana government on Tuesday of favouring realty major DLF.
He alleged quid pro quo involving realty major DLF, the Haryana government and Robert Vadra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.
“The Haryana government has become an agent of DLF, it is not a people’s government,” he told the media while flashing reams of paper and court records as evidence. He asked the Haryana government to bring out a white paper on its dealings with the company.
Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan of India Against Corruption (IAC) had accused Robert Vadra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, on Friday of amassing properties worth over Rs300 crore through corrupt land deals. They had alleged that DLF sold Vadra prime land in Delhi and nearby areas at throwaway prices while giving him interest-free loans.
The Congress, which is already in a tight spot following accusations against Vadra, reacted fast on Tuesday. And the Haryana government fielded its bureaucrats to control the damage.
Kejriwal cited papers filed with the Registrar of Companies to back his allegation against Vadra and DLF. Annexures to the balance sheets filed by Vadra’s companies show a “loan” from DLF.
The balance sheet of a company called Real Earth Estates Pvt Ltd shows a “loan” of Rs5 crore from DLF. Another company of Vadra, Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd, shows a recurring “advance” payment of Rs50 crore for land in Manesar, on the outskirts of Gurgaon in Haryana.
For several years, this advance continues to remain with Vadra’s company as well as the land he was supposed to sell to DLF. Kejriwal also alleged that 30 acres of land in Gurgaon was meant for building a hospital but the Haryana government gave it to DLF for a special economic zone.
The case went to the Punjab and Haryana high court, which reversed the decision.
The court also noted there “exists a nexus between Haryana government and DLF”, Kejriwal said.
But senior advocate Harish Salve, who represents DLF, was quick to point out that the judgment had been challenged before the Supreme Court and it had issued a stay order.
While the truth about the allegations continued to be elusive and complex, Kejriwal managed to create a major political buzz in the city. The BJP, the principal opposition party, could do little regarding an investigation because senior leaders are worried about Kejriwal’s next salvo.
Rumour is he will target a senior BJP leader on October 16. So, if the BJP endorses Kejriwal’s allegations now, they will be left embarrassed if Kejriwal were to target their leader.
Slamming Congress’ Union ministers for defending Vadra, Kejriwal, who is a former income tax officer himself, said his case is fit for a detailed scrutiny under the Income Tax Act. But no I-T office will take any action, especially since finance minister P Chidambaram has given a clean chit to him.
Kejriwal alleged that “DLF SEZ Holdings Pvt Ltd was formed on February 2, 2007; and in 2008, Vadra’s company acquired almost 50% by buying 25,000 shares at Rs10 each. In 2009, this was sold back to DLF group. What role did he play in that one year?”
On Haryana government’s claim that 350 acres was given to DLF in an open bidding, Kejriwal said three bids were received for that land — DLF, Unitech and Country Heights. “Leaving DLF’s bid, the other two were rejected on grounds that they don’t have experience of building a golf course.
This condition was introduced at the time of evaluating technical bids which raises suspicion that it was done to favour DLF. Their financial bids were never opened. “According to reports, the financial bids of the other two developers were higher. Thus Haryana government suffered a loss,” Kejriwal said.
DLF immediately clarified in an official statement that this land was acquired through “an international bidding and the matter is sub judice in the Punjab & Haryana high court”.
Unlike last time when senior Union cabinet ministers P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Jayanti Natrajan and Karnataka governor HR Bharadwaj jumped to Vadra’s defence, this time the response was muted.
Corporate affairs and power minister M Veerappa Moily was the lone minister to tell a TV channel that he had “personally examined” the papers of Vadra’s companies and he had found nothing wrong.
Kejriwal hit back by saying the defence of a private individual by Union cabinet ministers had ensured that the government’s investigating agencies would not be in a position to do an honest job.