"A meeting in Gurgaon one afternoon with a young man driving an all-terrain vehicle had much to do with this. His vehicle had stalled.... I happened to be nearby and arranged for water to cool the radiator. He asked me what I was doing out in the wilderness and heard with great interest about my plans and how archaic laws and policies were stifling real estate development. Not long after, he became the prime minister of the country and was instrumental in ushering the private sector back into urban development. These reforms would revolutionise the real estate sector and also allow DLF to expand at a scorching pace..."
This excerpt, from DLF Chairman KP Singh's autobiography, Against All Odds, refers to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi as being key to India's real estate's transformation, as well as DLF's 'scorching' expansion, especially in Gurgaon, which lies next to Delhi.
Ironically, many decades later, the Gandhi family has once again become associated with the developer, but, this time, instead of tales of uber-expansion and wealth creation, embarrassing questions about favours and unorthodox dealings lurk.
Thanks to political instigator Arvind Kejriwal, Robert Vadra - married to Rajiv Gandhi's daughter, Priyanka - finds himself squarely in the crosshairs of the media for allegedly getting unseemly concessions from both the Haryana government, as well as DLF, in connection with land deals in Gurgaon and Manesar.
Image: Indira Gandhi seen with sons Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi in this file photo.
Text: Nivedita Mookerji and Dilasha Seth, Business Standard