Kejriwal alleges Haryana-DLF nexus, demands Vadra's I-T scrutiny
Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday released documents alleging quid pro quo between Haryana government and DLF and demanded income tax scrutiny of assets of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra over his business links with the realty major.
The fresh allegations ignited angry denials from the Haryana government, DLF and Congress but Vadra maintained silence.
Even as Kejriwal sought a "white paper" and an Special Investigation Team probe into dealings between the Haryana government and DLF and said the allegations were enough for the income tax department to raid Vadra, the Congress again accused him of seeking "cheap publicity".
The BJP demanded a "comprehensive enquiry" into the charges.
In a response within hours of Kejriwal's allegations, the Haryana government denied any wrongdoing and said it had not favoured DLF as alleged by Kejriwal.
State's Director General for Town and Country Planning T.C. Gupta told mediapersons in Chandigarh that "no favour was granted to DLF" by the Haryana government.
"The allegations that officials and the government were tilted in favour of DLF are totally wrong," he said.
DLF also issued a point-by-point rebuttal of Kejriwal's new allegations and said an attempt was being made to sensationalise the charges.
The company said it had not enjoyed special favours from Haryana government, had compiled with all applicable rules and followed highest ethical standards in its business transactions.
Addressing a press conference, India Against Corruption (IAC) member Kejriwal said a white paper was needed on "all the favours done by the Haryana government to the DLF group".
A Special Investigation Team monitored by a retired Supreme Court judge should probe the allegations, he said.
Kejriwal said Vadra's business dealings were a "fit case for income tax raids" and sought an FIR against Vadra, a 43-year-old businessman married to Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of Sonia Gandhi.
"The Haryana government has become an agent of DLF," Kejriwal said, citing 14 pages of court records and other documents that he gave to the media to back his case.
In his second presser in five days, Kejriwal said even the Punjab and Haryana High Court had pulled up the Haryana government and described its actions vis-a-vis DLF as "malafide" and "nexus".
According to him, Vadra's company acquired almost 50 percent shareholding in DLF SEZ Holdings Pvt Ltd a year after it was formed in 2007. These were sold back to the company a year later.
A former income tax officer, Kejriwal hit out at Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for backing Vadra.
"All the evidence we have provided today makes it a fit case for an income tax raid," he said.
"I have been an income tax officer, and I know it. But after the country's finance minister speaks in favour of Vadra, which officer will have the guts to give (Vadra) a notice?"
"What is the relation between Congress and Vadra? What is the relation between Vadra and the government?... Why is the finance minister defending him? Why is the law minister defending him? All the ministers are trying to save him."
Kejriwal's harshest words were directed at the Haryana government.
"Panchayat land has been handed over to DLF, HUDA land has been handed over to DLF, FAR (floor area ratio) has been increased for DLF, land use rule have been changed (for DLF)," he said.
Congress spokesperson Raashid Alvi questioned the veracity of the documents presented by Kejriwal and dubbed his charges baseless.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the BJP wanted a comprehensive enquiry.
"It is high time the Congress stops running away from a probe. It is neck deep in corruption."
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Basudeb Acharia asked why the Congress was not ordering a probe if the allegations against Vadra were indeed baseless.
Several farmers who alleged that the Haryana government had usurped land from them using fraudulent methods also spoke at the press conference.
Asked if the activists will move court, Kejriwal said if investigative agencies cannot work fairly under Manmohan Singh government, it should resign.
"Then we will think of going to court," Kejriwal said.
On Oct 5, Kejriwal had alleged that Vadra's fortunes had risen because of his dealings with DLF.
India Against Corruption (IAC) member and lawyer Shanti Bhushan said the dealings between DLF and Vadra were covered by the Prevention of Corruption Act.