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Indian party leader's son-in-law denies graft charges

Publication Date : 08-10-2012


There is no let-up in the highprofile controversy revolving around the unprecedented charge of corruption against Robert Vadra, an allegation denied by Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law yesterday as “utterly false and defamatory”.

Notwithstanding the rebuttal from him, the activist Arvind Kejriwal on his part claimed that Vadra has not answered vital questions on his links with the real estate major DLF.

Vadra, according to PTI reports, said he was “saddened” by the attempt of activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan to malign him and his family, and alleged that it was being done to gain “cheap publicity” and for the launch of their political party.

“My business transactions are fully reflected in financial statements filed before appropriate government authorities in compliance with the law. They are available in the public domain to anyone interested in knowing the truth,” Vadra said. 

He further said that he is a “private law-abiding citizen” who has been engaged in business over the last 21 years. “The allegations levelled against me by Kejriwal and Bhushan are utterly false, entirely baseless and defamatory,” Vadra said, two days after charges made by the civil society activists at a press conference here created a political storm. 

The agency report does not mention whether Vadra has issued any Press statement or has expressed his views in an interview. 

Vadra said he was “saddened by the attempt of Kejriwal and Bhushan to deliberately misrepresent numbers contained in my financial statements, manufacture lies against me and malign me and my family in order to gain cheap publicity for themselves and for the launch of their political party”. 

His statement came a day after he broke his silence over the controversy surrounding his property dealings, saying he could “handle all the negativity”. 

Reacting to Vadra’s remarks that he and Bhushan were aligning him and his family to “gain cheap publicity”, Kejriwal said: “Robert Vadra has questioned our motives. That is not important. He has not replied to the questions that we have raised.” 

“DLF has issued a response. It is full of half truths and lies. A lot of information has been suppressed. But does Vadra stand by DLF’s response or does he have another version? I would appreciate his version,” Kejriwal said.  He said he will not be able to respond to the specific issues in DLF’s response today as his team is working on it. 

“I had gone through the DLF response curiously. It is clear that there are a lot of information that they have suppressed...It will not be correct for me to respond now. We will issue a detailed response tomorrow. 

"I just want to know if Robert Vadra has the same response or if he has a different version. He did not respond to any of the specific issues we have raised,” Kejriwal said. 

In a statement yesterday, DLF had said it had given 65 crore rupees as “business advances” out of which 15 crore rupees was fully refunded and 50 crore rupees was used for purchase of land.  (One crore is equivalent to  10 million.)

Rejecting the allegations made by Kejriwal and Bhushan that the company favoured Vadra, DLF had said it neither received any undue benefit from any state government nor was it allotted any land by Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan governments.  

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the tactics adopted by Kejriwal were only attempts to gain cheap publicity. 

In Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar also came to Vadra’s defence, daring Arvind Kejriwal to approach the courts if he felt that his allegation against  Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law had any substance.

“Of late, this is becoming a trend that anyone levels allegations, then keeps mum and later asks the government to conduct a judicial probe. But in such cases, anyone can approach court. Kejriwal can also go to court,” Pawar told reporters.

The BJP (Indian People's Congress) stuck to its demand for a probe into Kejriwal's allegations, saying those involved should put forward “concrete clarification” on the charges to put an end to the issue.

“A company (DLF) which itself has a loan to the tune of 22,000 crore rupees and paying an interest of 15 per cent thereon, was extending interest-free loans worth 65 crore rupees to Vadra,” BJP national spokesman Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Nagpur.


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