The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India,
Government of India,
Subject- Requesting for a detailed enquiry into the allegations made by Sri Arvind Kejriwal against Sri Robert Vadra
I am Nutan Thakur, a Lucknow based social activist and freelance journalist, working in the field of transparent and accountable governance. I present this letter in my individual capacity as the citizen of this Nation.
Recently on 05/10/2012, Sri Arvind Kejriwal, Civil activist and Anti-corruption crusader and Sri Prashant Bhushan, an eminent advocate in the Hon’ble Supreme Court raised a few questions of propriety as regards the business deals between Sri Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress and the DLF company. I attach the allegations as Annexure No A1.
The allegations titled “Robert Vadra acquires properties worth hundreds of crores from nothing, What is the source of these funds?” says-“In the last 4 years, Robert Vadra has gone on a property buying binge and has purchased at least 31 properties mostly in and around New Delhi, which even at the time of their purchase were worth several hundred crores. An analysis of the balance sheets and audit reports of 5 companies set up by him (and owned exclusively by him and his mother) on or after 1/11/2007 show that the total share capital of these companies was just Rs 50 lakhs and these companies together had no income from any legitimate business activity (except by way of interest derived from interest free loans obtained from DLF). Yet during 2007-2010 they have acquired properties which were worth well over Rs 300 crores even at their time of acquisition and are worth more than Rs 500 crore as of today. The ostensible seed money for this acquisition is shown to have come from unsecured interest free loans from DLF Ltd (over 65 crore). The bulk of the properties are also purchased from DLF at a price which is shown far below the market price. Thus 7 flats in Magnolia apartments in DLF Gurgaon are purchased for a total of Rs 5.2 crores by Vadra’s companies when the market price of each flat at the time of acquisition was well over 5 crore and today its price is between 10 to 15 crore rupees per flat. Similarly a 10,000 sq feet apartment in DLF Aralias (Gurgaon) is shown to be purchased for Rs 89 lakhs when its market price at the time of purchase in 2010 was 20 crore rupees and today is more than 30 crore rupees. Not just that, a stake of 50% share in DLF owned hotel in Saket (DLF Hilton Garden Inn) is shown to be purchased for Rs 32 crore when the market value was well over Rs 150 crore.”
From this the following important questions were raised-
1. Why should DLF give large unsecured interest free loans to Robert Vadra?
2. Why should DLF sell its properties to Vadra at throwaway prices and on the basis of funds obtained by Vadra from DLF itself?
3. It is well known that DLF has been given 350 acres of land by Haryana govt for the development of Magnolia project in Gurgaon (where Vadra was allocated 7 apartments) and has been given various other properties and benefits by the Congress governments in Haryana and Delhi. Is that the quid pro quo for DLF giving Vadra the seed money for the purchase of these massive properties worth hundreds of crores?
4. It is clear that there is a lot of unaccounted black money invested in these properties of Vadra. What is the source of these funds? Are illicit funds of the Congress party being funnelled into this property buying spree by the son-in-law of the dynasty?
5. The above acquisition of properties is only what has come to light from the documents submitted to ROC itself, and maybe just the tip of the iceberg. Preliminary information indicates that there are many other properties purchased by him. It’s significant that 6 new companies have also been registered by him in 2012.
Thus the two people said- “Prima facie the facts above show commission of offences under the prevention of corruption act as well offences under the Income Tax Act. Why are these ostensible offenses not being investigated?”
This statement issued by Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan was vehemently denied by DLF Company. I attach the point-by-point rebuttal being made by the DLF company as Annexure No A2.
What the statement primarily said was- “We would like to state that the business relationship of DLF with Mr Robert Vadra or his companies, has been in his capacity as an individual entrepreneur, on a completely transparent and at an arm’s length basis. Our business relationship has been conducted to the highest standards of ethics and transparency, as has been our business practices, all around.” It said- “We wish to categorically state that the DLF has given NO unsecured loans to Mr. Vadra or any of his companies. An amount of Rs. 65 crores was given as business advances for the purchase of land as per standard industry practice comprising of the two transactions” with M/s Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd and M/S Skylight Group of companies belonging to Sri Robert Vadra.
Similarly, the DLF statement said- “Since no unsecured loans were provided by DLF the question of acquiring the said properties from DLF loans does not exist. It is not unusual for parties which sell land to DLF to choose to reinvest the consideration received or part thereof in projects being developed by DLF.” DLF further clarified its position as regards the various Residential Properties purchased by Sri Vadra in Aralias apartment, Magnolias apartments, Capital Greens project. Thus the DLF said- “There is no question of offering, let alone selling, Mr Vadra or his group companies any property at a throwaway price. The allegation that 7 apartments in Magnolias were sold for Rs. 5.2 crores only is also completely baseless. At NO stage was a property ever sold to the Skylight group below the then offered price to all customers.”
About the allegations related with Saket Hilton Hotel, it said- “As part of its publicly stated objective of exiting the non core business of hotels, DLF, based on independent valuation, arrived at an enterprise value of Rs. 150 crores for the Saket Hilton Hotel. It was agreed to sell an equity stake of 50% at the above enterprise value. The enterprise value comprised of Rs. 80 crores of debt (at an interest rate of 12% pa) and an equity value of Rs. 70 crores. Accordingly, for a 50% equity stake in the hotel, a sum of Rs. 35 crores was contributed by Skylight Group.”
Regarding any kind of quid pro quo, DLF categorically denied by saying- “DLF vehemently denies any quid pro quo in its transactions with Mr Vadra and his group of companies. DLF is engaged in Real estate development in Haryana for over 40 years and has successfully implemented large projects by purchasing land from individual land owners directly at fair market prices and developing the same in strict compliance of all rules, regulations and applicable laws.”
It also explained its position as regards Magnolias project is located is part of the Phase V project in DLF City, Gurgaon. DLF said- “It may be clarified that DLF secured the project on its own merits by fulfilling the eligibility criteria through a competitive bidding process and NOT through a discretionary allotment by the Haryana Government as alleged. We further state that DLF has not been allotted any lands by the State Governments of Haryana, Rajasthan or Delhi.”
DLF also made it clear that- “All business transactions between DLF and Mr Vadra and his group of companies have been conducted with complete transparency and are fully accounted for as per the applicable laws and accounting standards. There is no question of utilization of unaccounted black money or illicit funds as alleged. We categorically and vehemently reject this allegation.” It concluded by saying- “We trust we have clarified the issue adequately and with the facts, as they are. The allegations raised against DLF are therefore completely baseless and untrue. DLF hopes that with this clarification, controversies of these baseless allegations stands cleared.”
Sri Robert Vadra also vehemently denied these allegations by saying- “”I am a private law abiding citizen who has been engaged in business over the last 21 years. The allegations levelled against me by Shri Kejriwal and Shri Bhushan are utterly false, entirely baseless and defamatory. 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.”
Sri Vadra thus concluded- “I am saddened by the attempt of Shri Kejriwal and Shri Bhushan to deliberately misrepresent numbers contained in my financial statements, manufacture lies and malign my family in order to gain cheap publicity for them and for the launch of their political party.”
To these clarifications/statements by DLF company and Sri Robert Vadra, Sri Kejriwal has reacted by saying- “DLF has issued a response. It is full of half truths and lies. A lot of information has been suppressed. Robert Vadra has questioned our motives that is not important. He has not replied to the questions that we have raised.”
Meanwhile the matter is being widely discussed in all public forum and has become the most talked after debate of India.
Many senior Minister in the Indian Government have reacted in various manners as regards these allegations. Most importantly, Finance Minister Sri P. Chidambaram has said- “I think those who made their allegations have made their statement, the company concerned has made a statement and the individual concerned has made a statement. Now beyond that, I have no facts and unless there is a specific allegation of quid pro quo or corruption, I am afraid private transactions cannot and ought not to be allowed to questioned on the basis of imputations and insinuations.”
But despite specific denials by the DLF company and Sri Vadra as regards the allegations leveled by Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan, some of the basic questions remain completely unanswered. These unanswered questions have been raised in great details in many news articles. I present here only two such articles, one from the news website firstpost.com- “DLF and Vadra may have misled us on the advance” by Sri Vivek Kaul dated 08/10/2012 (http://www.firstpost.com/politics/money-for-nothing-dlf-vadra-alibi-on-land-deals-is-hogwash-482370.html) and another from The Hindu- “Behind Robert Vadra’s fortune, a maze of questions” by Ms Shalini Singh as Annexure No A3. I am personally not an expert in company affairs, corporate matters, finance and economics , yet I can understand that there are still many unanswered questions remaining after the explanations given by DLF and Sri Vadra.
It is this question that everyone is asking and wants an authoritative and definite official answer from the government. This can happen only when the Government of India enquires deep into these allegations through the various competent authorities associated with such matters. Possibly the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department might be the appropriate agencies for this investigation/enquiry.
Hence, I make the following request through this representation-
- Since despite the specific denials by Sri Robert Vadra and the DLF company as regards the allegations made by Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan, many a questions are still being said to be completely unanswered as can be seen from a perusal of Annexure No A3, hence it becomes imperative for the Government of India to enquire into the entire matter as alleged by Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan through whatever appropriate authorities it deems fit and capable for enquiring into these allegations.
- Since the entire country is baffled on how a person’s assets (who incidentally happens to be the son-in-law of the President of the political party that is in power in the Center and in the three States, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi where allegations are being directed) can grow from Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 500 crore, hence it seems to be the duty of the Government of India to officially explain the facts before the people of this country as to how and why exactly this happened ‘
The petitioner feels assured that you shall personally look into the matter and get it enquired rising above any kind of political considerations and keeping into sight only the Constitutional pledge made to the people of this Nation.
Dr. Nutan Thakur
5/426, Viram Khand,
Gomti Nagar, Lucknow