Political spat over Vadra continues to escalate

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 09, 2012 06:34 hrs

New Delhi: The political spat over the assets of Robert Vadra, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law, continued Monday with the party saying that IAC leader Arvind Kejriwal had no documents to prove his charges and the BJP alleging the ruling party was shying away from a probe into the matter.

Senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar also targeted Gandhi's daughter Priyanka, who is married to Vadra, suggesting a probe in her family property in Shimla.

India Against Corruption (IAC) members Kejriwal and his lawyer colleague Prashant Bhushan have alleged Vadra bought properties much above his capital base with help from realty major DLF, a charge denied by the corporate.

The Congress and the government defended Vadra.

"Unless there is a specific allegation of quid pro quo or corruption, I am afraid private transactions cannot and ought not to be allowed to be questioned on the basis of imputations and insinuations," said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said there were no documents to prove the charges against Vadra and alleged Kejriwal was seeking "cheap publicity".

"Has he gone to any agency, registered any FIR? An inquiry will only happen when papers will be given. You cannot prove anyone guilty by flashing papers in the media. The reality is that they don't have any documents to prove their allegation," Alvi said.

The BJP said the Congress was shying away from a probe.

"The Congress is shying away from investigation. Today, we have ministers telling there should not be any inquiry against Robert Vadra," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.

Shanta Kumar, a former Himachal Pradesh chief minister, went a step ahead and targeted Sonia Gandhi's daughter and Vadra's wife Priyanka.

"Priyanka Vadra's family also has a property in Shimla. I don't have the full information about it but it is worth crores of rupees," Shanta Kumar in his letter dated Oct 7 to Kejriwal.

The IAC in response sought to know why the BJP government in Himachal was not probing the issue.

"There is a BJP government in Himachal. It is easy for them to probe if there is any property belonging to Priyanka Vadra in Shimla. Shanta Kumar says he does not have full information about it. We cannot understand this," a press statement from IAC said.

The IAC had alleged Oct 5 that Vadra had bought properties worth over Rs.300 crore between 2007 and 2010 with an interest-free unsecured loan of Rs.65 crore from realty major DLF.

They claimed the properties were given at undervalued rates in exchange of favours allegedly received from Congress state governments in Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.

DLF had Saturday denied it had advanced any unsecured loan to Vadra, or sold its assets to him at throwaway prices, or that there was a quid pro quo in the transactions.

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