New Delhi: How Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, bought land in Haryana while her party governed the state has been presented to the Supreme Court. Today, a detailed report on alleged corruption by the former state government in real estate deals was presented to judges. Amid the A-listers it profiles is Mr Vadra and his reported benefactor, former Chief Minister BS Hooda.
“I am at a temple for my birthday, please respect the place,” said Mr Vadra, a controversial entrepreneur, to reporters in Delhi.
Nearly 250 land deals during the Congress’ term in power in Haryana were investigated by SN Dhingra, a retired judge. In August last year, he told media that government officials and private individuals have both been indicted for colluding in illicit land deals. Justice Dhingra was tasked in 2015 with the inquest of land deals after the BJP was elected to govern Haryana.
The report was given last year to the Haryana government. The Congress said it had bene leaked to the media, that Mr Vadra was not questioned in person to explain his deals, and that the BJP government continues to follow the same policies in assigning land licenses that were followed by Mr Hooda when he was Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court had sought a copy of Justice Dhingra’s report in connection with a case that alleges farmers were gypped of fair prices as their land was appropriated for corporates.
The controversy around Mr Vadra is based on a 3.5-acre plot in Gurgaon that he bought in 2008 for 7.5 crores and sold just three months later for 58 crores to India’s largest real estate developer, DLF, which too has denied wrongdoing.
Mr Vadra, his wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mrs Gandhi have said that he did not indulge in any wrongdoing or accrue windfall profit because his family’s party was in power.
Senior bureaucrat Ashok Khemka, who tried to cancel the land deal, has complained that he was not contacted for more information by Justice Dhingra who said he didn’t find that necessary.