Is Vadra Running Scared? Winds Up Land-Related Business Ventures In Haryana And Rajasthan

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra is making a tactical retreat by winding up some of his land-related business ventures that have raked in the big bucks.

With its recent Haryana sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is now in power at the Centre and the two states – Rajasthan is the other – where Vadra has business interests, largely to do with making super-profits by selling land whose land use norms have changed to his benefit.

According to the reports in media, most of Vadra’s fledgling businesses began with modest sums of capital and took quantum leaps in a period when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power at the Centre and the Congress governments ran the show in Haryana and Rajasthan.

Mandatory documents filed by Vadra with the Registrar of Companies show that he has asked the authorities to “strike off’’ as many as four companies of which he is the managing director.

Vadra has also informed the authorities that another two of his companies are “under process of striking off ’’.

The companies that Vadra has listed for closure in the “strike off’’ category are: Lifeline Agrotech Private Ltd, Greenwave Agro Private Ltd, Rightlive Agriculture Private Ltd and Primitive Agro Private Ltd. The companies were set up in mid-2012 when the UPA was in power at the Centre. Vadra is managing director, while his mother Maureen Vadra is registered as a director Lifeline Agrotech, and Amit Kumar Mehta, a resident of Jatpur Extension in Badarpur, is director in the other three firms.

The companies listed in the “under process of  strike off’’ category are Future Infra Agro Private Ltd and Best Season Agro private Ltd. The official address of the companies is 268, Sukdev Vihar in New Delhi while Vadra’s residential address is recorded as 35, Lodhi Estate where he stays with his wife Priyanka. His mother has been shown as a resident of New Friends Colony in the Capital.

Interestingly, the paid-up capital of each of these companies is a modest Rs 1 lakh, which seems to be the standard operating procedure for Vadra companies that had become a political hot potato for the Grand Old Party during the Lok Sabha elections.

A draft audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has also come as a major embarrassment for the Congress and Vadra. The report points out that the Hooda government allowed Robert Vadra to make a windfall gain of Rs 44 crore in land deals with DLF in violation of norms.

According to the report, Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality Private Limited was allowed to develop a commercial colony when it had a mere Rs 1 lakh as capital. The state government overlooked the meager finances of the company and gave it the project. The land was soon sold to DLF Universal for Rs 58 crore, with Skylight Hospitality raking in as much as Rs 44 crore.

The CAG draft report also points out that according to the terms of the bilateral agreement between the state government and Skylight Hospitality, Vadra’s company had to transfer Rs 41 crore of the payment received from DLF to the state government.

The Hooda government had gone out of its way to protect Vadra and even hounded honest IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who had insisted on sticking to the rulebook in declaring the registration of some of the plots bought by Vadra as illegal.

With the BJP government coming into power things have come full circle, and Vadra is clearly vulnerable over his land deals as the protective shield of the Congress government at the Centre and the Hooda government in the state is no longer available.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has indicated that the government would look into Vadra’s land deals in the near future and adopt a specific process after examining all complaints into the matter.

While Khattar has stated that the law will take its own course, the CAG report is bound to put Vadra in a tight spot and give the state government sufficient material to initiate action in the matter.

The BJP government in Rajasthan has already ordered a probe. Vadra had already started feeling the heat over the land deals struck during the erstwhile Congress regime in the state.

Vadra’s companies such as Real Earth Estates Private Limited, Sky Light Realty Private Limited, and North India IT Parks Private Limited had – in a spate of deals between 2009 to 2011 – bought more than 770 hectares in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district at rock bottom prices.

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  • 26 Sep 201534°C23°C
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