Priyanka Gandhi Vadra issued a statement Thursday that the source of funds for the land she bought and sold in Faridabad, Haryana had “no relationship whatsoever” with husband Robert Vadra, his firm Skylight Hospitality or real estate major DLF. Yet the 5 acres she bought and sold in Amipur in Faridabad district form part of the land parcels which have been under the scanner of enforcement agencies — two persons have already been summoned and questioned — and purportedly figure in the Justice S N Dhingra Commission report on alleged irregularities in Haryana land deals.
Revenue records and stamp paper agreements listing the sale of land parcels in Amipur show that between 2006 and 2008, Robert Vadra purchased around 45 acres in Amipur while Priyanka purchased 5 acres.
And in October 2012, the DLF, responding to queries from The Indian Express on its links with the Amipur land purchased by Robert Vadra, stated in an email that it had given a Rs 15-crore advance to the Skylight Group for the construction of a proposed township in Amipur but the project did not achieve fruition.
“In 2008-09, Skylight Group offered us an opportunity to purchase a parcel of land in Faridabad and accordingly, DLF advanced Rs 15 crore in instalments. After concluding the due diligence, we found that there were legal infirmities in the land parcel and decided against the purchase. Accordingly we requested for refund of our advance which was refunded in totality by the Skylight Group. Subsequent to this, we have no interest or involvement whatever in Amipur or Faridabad,” the DLF said.
The Amipur revenue records also show that around the time Vadra bought land, NRI businessman C C Thampi too bought huge tracts of adjoining land.
Several pieces of Amipur land, including the five acres purchased by Priyanka, were sold by a property dealer Harbans Lal Pahwa who, according to company records, had also been a director of a Vadra firm, Real Earth Estate, for a year.
Pahwa is said to be ailing and could not be reached for comments. But earlier, when he spoke to The Indian Express, Pahwa had claimed that he was asked by Thampi to re-purchase the Amipur land that he had sold to the Vadra couple.
Thampi has been in the crosshairs of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and, in December 2016, was stopped at the Chennai airport and questioned.
Two months ago, Thampi was issued a show-cause notice by the ED for alleged violations involving a sum of Rs 288 crore by acquiring huge tracts of land in the name of his company, Holiday City Centre, in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh which he could not have done as an NRI.
The other Faridabad resident who has been a recent subject of ED interest is Congress worker Mahesh Nagar. Summoned by the ED, he moved court but got no reprieve and, in December 2016, was told to appear before the agency for questioning in connection with the Bikaner land deals.
Earlier this month, Nagar’s residence and offices in Faridabad were searched by the ED which claimed he was linked to Vadra’s firm Skylight Hospitality.
Reached for comments, Mahesh Nagar said he was being “victimised” for his “supposed” links to the Vadra couple.
“I do not know why the ED conducted the raids. I was not at home and they only found some gold in the house which women usually keep. I have nothing to do with the land deals of the family anymore. What I do know is all the land has been sold back by the family to Pahwa several years ago. But he is unwell and not in a position to speak,” Nagar said.