Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad yesterday said a public clarification issued by Congress president’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra about her land deals raises more questions than it answers.
He said there is a “similar pattern” in the land deals of Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra.
“Only one inference can be drawn from Priyanka’s statement - perhaps she was advised this is too hot a potato to be handled and, therefore, her transactions must be segregated and a clarification issued,” Prasad said while speaking with TimesNow channel.
“... her clarification raises more questions than it answers,” he added.
Priyanka said on Thursday that agricultural land bought by her in Haryana’s Faridabad district or other property acquired by her had no links to the finances of her husband, his Skylight Hospitality, or reality major DLF.
A newspaper report on Thursday said the S N Dhingra Commission appointed by the Haryana government is said to have concluded that Vadra made “unlawful profits” of Rs500mn from a land deal in Haryana in 2008 without spending a single paisa.
The Economic Times newspaper citing unnamed people familiar with the S N Dhingra commission report said the committee had probed transactions between Onkareshwar Properties and Vadra-owned Skylight Hospitality and subsequently between Skylight and developer DLF.
The Dhingra commission investigated over 20 properties said to have been purchased by Vadra and his companies, said the paper.
The Economic Times said the Vadra-owned hospitality firm had bought land from Onkareshwar Properties.
In response to the paper, Vadra’s lawyer said the company or his client had “committed no wrong and no laws were violated.”
Prasad said “certain patterns” are similar in the land deals of both Priyanka and Robert Vadra.
“One, the land is transferred back to the vendor in both cases; and secondly, the appreciation of the land is enormous”.
“Given the influence Robert Vadra exercised with the then (Bhupinder Singh Hooda) government and the speedy manner in which land use was changed after bypassing norms, it can be inferred that it was designed to allow a situation of windfall gains,” Prasad said.
On the Congress objection that no notice was sent by the commission to either Robert Vadra or Hooda, Prasad said justice S N Dhingra (retd) must have followed the procedure.
“Justice Dhingra is a seasoned and celebrated judge. His knowledge of law is wholesome. Let’s assume he sent notices but they were not answered. The larger issue is: don’t go into procedure, but come to propriety. Don’t go into semantics, but reply on substance,” Prasad, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, said.
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