NEW DELHI: Robert Vadra has not done the Congress any favours – his real estate deals in states like Haryana have forced the party headed by his mother-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, to repeatedly assert that he is not corrupt, and did not benefit from Congress state governments keen to make special allowances for his business.
But today, Mr Vadra featured in posters waved about at a Congress rally which was addressed by Mrs Gandhi, whose daughter, Priyanka, married Mr Vadra in 1997. The party has usually held that Mr Vadra is “a private citizen” even as it has offered a series of explanations for why the allegations of murky real estate deals are nothing more than political vendetta.
Venality charges are also being confronted now by Mrs Gandhi and her son, Rahul, who is the party’s Number Two, over a deal that saw Ango-Italian firm, AgustaWestland, being chosen to supply helicopters to India in 2010, when the Congress was governing the country.
The Gandhis have denied any wrongdoing, but an Italian court just weeks ago convicted Agusta executives of paying bribes in India. Among the evidence it reviewed were notes and letters swapped between middlemen and others that name-checked Mrs Gandhi and other top Congress bosses. The ruling BJP says the Italian verdict proves that the documents cannot be dismissed as loose talk and merit serious charges of the Gandhis’ graft.
The “Save Democracy” demonstration held at Parliament by the Congress today tried to take on the government for contorting its powers at the Centre to collapse and remove Congress administrations in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The Supreme Court is examining whether the Centre was wrong to declare President’s Rule in Uttarakhand in March.