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New Delhi, Oct 5 (IBNS) Creating a political firestorm, activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan targetted the Congress first family on Friday laying before people the undervalued property deals of party chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra with the realty company DLF, alleging the latter made hundreds of crores in return of government favours to the firm.
Soon after the charges were slapped, the entire Congress machinery was out defending the Gandhis with Sonia Gandhi herself in a one-liner statement denying Vadra misused his position. Congress called Vadra a soft target of publicity hungry Kejriwal.
DLF also in a brief statement denied the charges, while Robert Vadra, who is now abroad reportedly, was unavailable for comments.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said a probe should be ordered to ascertain the truths of the allegations.
Kejrwial and his team dropped their "corruption bombshell" by naming Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi, as a beneficiary of Rs 300 crore in a huge property deal by DLF company under which he was allegedly given properties in a throwaway price.
Aiming fingers at the Gandhis indirectly, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan in a press conference said DLF, which got land from Congress ruled governments, gave unsecured interest free loans to Vadra to buy only their property at very cheap prices.
He got property worth Rs 300 crore for Rs 50 lakh from DLF and it should be probed, they said.
He asked why did DLF - one of the biggest realty firms of India- sanction Rs. 65 crore loan to Vadra without any interest.
"What appears is that DLF is giving Vadra money to buy their properties at a throwaway price. It is ridiculous. Now the question is why DLF gave interest free unsecured loan to Vadra?
"We all know that DLF has got many plots of land from Haryana and Delhi governments for development. The company got lands from these Congress ruled states- Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan."
"Is DLF giving this property to Vadra because they are getting benefits from the Congress governments in these states?' asked Bhusan.
They demanded that Vadra should be investigated.
"They are looting openly because they [Vadra] know that they are son-in-law of first family," Bhusan said.
The anti-corruption crusaders said Vadra and his mother were involved.
"This is Robert Vadra ghotala [scam]," said activist Shanti Bhusan.
Kejriwal said they got the documents judged by qualified chartered accountants.
DLF wanted to give Rs 300 crore to Vadra through six companies, Kejriwal alleged, adding that 350 acres of land was given to DLF in Haryana.
"We know there would be no investigation. Who will probe it? CBI? We now appeal the people of India to come forward," said Kejriwal.
Robert Vadra, now 43, married Priyanka Gandhi (now Vadra) in 1997. The couple have two children, Raihan and Miraya. Vadra is a businessman in Delhi and he was also linked to DLF Limited earlier.
Soon after the press conference, the Congress president herself reacted.
Gandhi in her statement from 10 Janpath residence here said there was "no misuse by Robert Vadra."
DLF issued a statement saying the "business relationship with Robert Vadra is completely transparent, conducted to the highest standards of ethics. "
While allegations were made about land transfer to DLF in Congress ruled Haryana, the chief minister of the state reacted.
CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said they never allotted land to anyone, and land was given only after proper bidding.
Congress senior leaders in unison called the charges as political chicanery aimed at tarring the Gandhis black.
"This press conference which took place in the evening is not even a political conspiracy, it is political chicanery of the worst kind," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari.
"The press conference on the eve of election proved that the so called civil society is nothing else but the B team of BJP," said Tiwari.
"We dismiss them with utter contempt they deserve," he said adding that with a proper response they should not even dignify the allegations.
Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said: "All these allegations are baseless. Robert Vadra was a businessman even before his marriage. Any businessman furthers his business with loan. What he has got from DLF is not linked to Congress. No benefit was given to DLF from government."
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi also denied any link with DLF and Congress but said "if someone has done a mistake, law will take its own course."
Meanwhile, the BJP soon picked up the matter and demanded a probe.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the nation should know what business credentials Robert Vadra has that he rose so high in three years from a small businessman status.
"We demand proper investigation of these allegations," said Prasad.
BJP said if the company called DLF were doing charity "then for whom they were doing the charity?"
"Do they do such charity with other clients? The country would like to know why they were so kind to Vadra," he said.
"DLF got over 100 acres of land in Haryana and this is a case of plain quid pro quo.
"This company got special favours in Congress ruled states," Prasad said.