New Delhi: The Supreme Court had stayed the land acquisition quoted by India Against Corruption member Arvind Kejriwal to attack Robert Vadra. The question is if this makes Kejriwal's accusations less factual. "It is not about what is applicable. The fact is that the High Court judges thought that the case is to say that the Haryana Government has shown favouritism and the opinion of those judges is valid and it is still a public domain document which we can accept. It is a matter that as you have said is still sub-judice but the opinion of the judge of Punjab and Haryana shows a clear collusion has been seen," IAC member Preeti Menon said.
But lawyers say that a judgement is not final when it is stayed. "SC has granted a stay, which means that the judgement cannot be acted upon or given effect to, and it has not attained finality, it has to pass the test of the SC. At this point it would be wrong to rely on it because that is the purpose of a stay, it is out in abeyance, it is out on hold," lawyer Gopal Jain said.
Meanwhile, the Haryana government has denied his allegations saying that it never favoured DLF. Kejriwal claimed a nexus between Vadra, DLF and the Congress-led Haryana government. Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation MD TC Gupta has said, "From the facts, it is clear that no land belonging to the government of Haryana development authority was either allotted or released in 2005 in favour of any private individual. This land belongs to East India Ltd, released more than 16 years back. 30 acres in 1995 was not handed over by the Haryana government, but by the East India hotels. There has been no handover of land by the Haryana government in the last 10 years."
DLF, though not denying the details given by Kejriwal altogether, has said the deals never transpired. In a statement, DLF said, "In the DLF SEZ Holdings Pvt Ltd, 50% of shareholding was acquired by M/s. North India IT Parks Pvt. Ltd. at the face value of 2.50 lakh rupees in Oct 2008. It was subsequently bought back in Sept 2009 fully at face value, as the proposal for developing SEZs could not take off due to deep recession. No benefit or gain was made by Mr Vadra or DLF, in this regard."
Arvind Kejriwal continued his offensive against Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, construction major DLF and the Congress government in Haryana. Alleging that the Haryana government had given undue benefits to DLF, Kejriwal said that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had pointed at a "malafide nexus" between the two. However, Haryana government on Tuesday evening refuted all allegations made by the Indian Against Corruption member. "All permissions have been given according to rules. No land has been released in the last 10 years. No favour has been granted to the DLF," the state government said.
India Against Corruption (IAC) member Kejriwal alleged that the Haryana government had allotted over three-acre of land meant for hospital to DLF to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). He went on to say that Vadra was given as much as 50 per cent of stake in DLF's SEZ company after one year.
"DLF SEZ Holdings Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 2.2.2007. Next year on 13.10.2008, M/s North India IT Parks Pvt Ltd (Robert Vadra group company) acquired almost 50 per cent of its shareholding. However, in subsequent year in 2009, this was sold back to DLF group. What role did he play in that one year when DLF SEZ was in Mr Vadra's control," alleged Kejriwal.
He further alleged that the Haryana government manipulated the bidding process saying that the bids given by Unitech and Country Heights were not opened. Kejriwal also said that forest land was also given to the construction major by the state government.
Kejriwal said that the amount of unsecured loan given by DLF to Vadra, which he had earlier claimed to be Rs 65 crore, was actually Rs 85 crore. The activist-turned-politician added that he was constantly getting letters and proofs from several people after his previous press conference.
He demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. When asked as to why he was not approaching the court over the issue, Kejriwal said, "Hooda and Manmohan Singh should resign. First resign and then we will decide whether we need to approach the court."
Suggesting that his offensive against the government would continue, Kejriwal said that he would expose a politician on October 16. He also demanded that the Himachal Pradesh government should give details about the properties bought by Priyanka Gandhi in the state.
Reacting to the allegations by Kejriwal, the Congress party hit back saying he was doing everything for publicity, saying "how would we know that these documents are genuine or not".
Talking to mediapersons, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that the party was not even willing to reply to Kejriwal's allegations. Referring to the demand of a White Paper by the Haryana government on its deals with DLF, Alvi said that such demands were not supposed to be kept before the media, adding that they need to approach the Haryana government for the same.
When asked about Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram defending Robert Vadra, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "If the Finance Minister has said something, he must have said it with some responsibility."
This comes days after Kejriwal had alleged that DLF had given unsecured loan of Rs 65 crore to Vadra. He had questioned the rise in Vadra's assets from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 300 crore.
Both Vadra and DLF have, however, denied the allegations. Vadra on Monday night shut down his account on social networking site Facebook the controversy as Kejriwal questioned the rise in his fortune. Sources close to Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, confirmed that the former closed down his account but refused to specify the reasons behind it.
According to reports, Vadra was unhappy with somebody making a controversy out of a light comment made by him in a post on Facebook on Monday. Vadra had reportedly written on his Facebook page "mango people in a banana republic", but later deleted it. Kejriwal also slammed Vadra for his "Mango people" remark. Vadra has reportedly communicated to some of his friends that he will open a new account on the Facebook soon in which he will include only his closed-ones in the friend list.
The IAC has demanded an apology from Vadra saying the comment on 'banana republic' was an insult to the country. Taking a dig, Kejriwal also responded to Vadra's Facebook post, by tweeting, "Evidence pouring in from mango men from across the country. Mango men wud prove to be nemesis for the 'powerful'." Vadra ultimately deleted his Facebook account.
But there are still many more big questions:
- DLF says Robert Vadra's company Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd sold its land at Manesar for Rs 58 crore to DLF and rs 50 cr was paid as advance. This land was acquired a year ago at Rs 15.38 crore by Sky Light. How did a cost escalation of almost 400 per cent take place in the span of a year?
- And despite a payment of Rs 50 crore in advance for the land, why do Vadra's balance sheets in March 2011 show both cash and land still in his company's name? Also, what happened to this money for 2 years?
- In another deal, DLF says Vadra paid Rs 11.9 crore for an apartment in Aralia. But why does his balance sheet show Rs 89.41 lakh as the purchase price, which a year later is valued at over Rs 11 crore?
- If Vadra became a 50 per cent shareholder of DLF SEZ in October 2008, how did he exit the business a year later without any loss or gain - considering that the real estate sector was witnessing a downturn.
- What was Robert Vadra's influence in the market that made DLF invest so heavily in all his companies, also giving crores as advance?
- In a falling market, why will DLF buy back Vadra's stake in the SEZ at the same price after one year?
- Why did Kejriwal use a stayed HC judgement as evidence in the DLF SEZ land deal?