New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court has taken up a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against Robert Vadra over the allegations made by Arvind Kejriwal against Vadra and DLF. The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the Central government to reply as to why Vadra should not be investigated. The PIL has been filed by social activist Nutan Thakur.
The PIL asks the Prime Minister to order a probe into allegations against Vadra. The court has given the central government three weeks' time to reply. The next date of hearing on the PIL is November 21.
The PIL says that despite denials by DLF and Robert Vadra, some basic questions remain completely unanswered, including the fact as to how a company could grow to Rs 500 crore worth with a mere initial investment of Rs 5 lakh. Meanwhile, the Congress has remained adamant saying it will not order a probe into Vadra's land deals. Speaking to CNN-IBN, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "You cannot investigate lies. Mr Vadra has done his duty as a private citizen and according to law."
Slamming Arvind Kejriwal for his allegations on Vadra, Manish Tewari added, "What has now interestingly come out is that these people are not prepared to respect the Supreme Court stay, they do not know the difference between an acre and a hectacre, not prepared to respect a multi-state bidding process and within 24 hours when they were confronted with very detailed rebuttals and raked over the hot coals of truth, their lies got exposed." "All allegations by Kejriwal have been found to be false," Tewari added. The Opposition, meanwhile, has been demanding an investigation.
Just a day after Haryana government denied favouring Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Vadra and DLF, CNN-IBN accessed documents showing how Vadra bought acres of land in the Mewat region of Haryana below the circle rate. The documents suggest Vadra has been on a property buying spree in Haryana and had picked up acres of land directly from farmers in 2008 and 2009.
Vadra's firm Real Earth Estates Ltd purchased over 27 acres in Mewat region and paid rates way lower than collector's fixed circle rates for the region. Villagers say land sale at rates lower than circle rates is common in Mewat. The Opposition now alleges low price land sale to Vadra should be investigated.
Documents in possession of CNN-IBN suggest Vadra bought land around Mewat at an average price of Rs 2.6 lakh an acre during 2009. Registration documents show a firm, Messrs Real Earth Estates Private Limited as the purchaser through its director Robert Vadra. Strangely, while the collector's circle rate for property in the villages Shakarpuri and Ferozepur Jhirka in Mewat is Rs 16 lakh per acre, Vadra's firm purchased land from the villagers at the following rates:
- Ruby Tabassum: 2 acres sold for Rs 7 lakh
- Anand Dutch Foods India Ltd: 8 acres sold for R 20 lakh
- Smt Memoona: 2 acres sold for Rs 7 lakh
- Smt Razia: 2 acres sold for Rs 7 lakh
- Sri Subhash Chand: 2 acres sold for Rs 6 lakh
- Smt Firdaus Begum: 11 acres Sold for Rs 24 lakh
The average price paid by Vadra for these purchases works out to Rs 2.6 lakh an acre, even as his firm paid up stamp duty on the official collector rate of Rs 16 lakh an acre. Collector rates are considered the base price for sale of land for revenue purposes and are usually far below the market price of the land.