Priyanka Gandhi says funds for her land deals have no connection with Robert Vadra

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Reacting to an Economic Times story which had speculated whether some of the money Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality received from DLF was used by his wife to buy properties in Faridabad, Priyanka Gandhi has issued a statement rubbishing any such connection. “The source of funds for the aforesaid purchase was rental income of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from property inherited from her grandmother Indira Gandhi. The source of funds for this or any other property acquired by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has no relationship whatsoever with Shri Robert Vadra's finances and/or Skylight Hospitality and no relationship whatsoever with DLF," the statement said. The statement, issued on her behalf, said Priyanka had bought 5 acres of agricultural land in village Amipur in Faridabad district for Rs 15 lakh on April 28, 2006, six years prior to the land deal involving Skylight Hospitality. The statement added that the Faridabad land was resold to the original owner four years later on February 17, 2010 for Rs 80 lakh, the then prevailing market price. The money was accepted through cheque. The earlier owner repurchased the plot exercising his right of first refusal. Any insinuations made about the land deal, the statement says, are "false, baseless and defamatory" and represent "a deliberate, politically motivated and malicious campaign to besmirch and destroy her reputation." Vadra’s land dealings with realty giant DLF has been in the news since the Justice SN Dhingra Commission was set up by the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana to look into the grant of licences for change in land use in four villages of Gurgaon. One of those involved licences granted to the company owned by Vadra. The report by the Commission was submitted in August last year. The state government sent it to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover last week. An apex court bench had asked for the report in connection with a pending petition on land deals.  Priyanka Gandhi’s detailed response came after the newspaper quoted sources involved in the Dhingra Commission’s work as saying that Vadra made unlawful profits of Rs 50.5 crore from a land deal in Haryana in 2008 without spending a single rupee. Responding to the paper’s queries in an email, Suman Khaitan, the lawyer representing Robert Vadra and Skylight Hospitality, said Vadra and Skylight had committed no wrong and that no laws were violated. He said land was bought after payment of full market price and income tax was paid.    Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former CM of Haryana, has challenged the constitutional validity of the Commission in a petition that is pending adjudication. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recorded the Haryana government’s assurance that the report will not be published. The thrust of the Dhingra Committee’s inquiries were on transactions between Onkareshwar Properties and Skylight, and subsequently between Skylight and DLF. The Dhingra Commission has inquired into over 20 properties said to have been purchased by Vadra and his companies. One of these, Skylight Hospitality, had bought land from Onkareshwar Properties which was then sold to developer DLF at a much higher price after the change in land use, resulting in the Rs 50.5-crore profit, claimed sources quoted in the Economic Times report. Other properties may have been bought with such funds and this needed to be investigated, the Commission’s report allegedly concluded. 

—India Legal Bureau