Politics hots up as Kejriwal questions Vadra's assets
Activist Arvind Kejriwal Saturday stuck to his graft charges against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, leading to a political slugfest with the BJP and others demanding a probe and the Congress rejecting it.
"We are not passing judgement. We have put certain facts in the public domain. Why doesn't he (Vadra) answer them," Kejriwal of India Against Corruption (IAC) asked while speaking to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar.
Kejriwal denied he was targeting Vadra for being related to the Gandhis and also to get mileage for his yet-to-be-named political outfit.
"People will not agree we targeted him for being (Sonia) Gandhi's son-in-law," said Kejriwal.
Kejriwal and his lawyer colleague Prashant Bhushan alleged Friday that Vadra had bought property in Gurgaon and other places at below market rates and sold them at a huge profit.
Kejriwal said he was ready to face a defamation case if charges against Vadra were proved wrong and asked why the Congress was silent on the merits of the case.
"I am ready to face defamation charges if the corruption charges against Robert Vadra are proven wrong. Why is the Congress silent on the merits of the case?"
The Opposition, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, CPI-M leader Brinda Karat and Trinamool Congress' Saugata Roy, came together to demand a probe into the matter while Anna Hazare sought a judicial probe into Vadra's assets.
The Congress defended Vadra and rejected the demand for a probe.
"An inquiry into what? Is a business transaction between two private entities duly reported to the statutory authorities illegal? Is it a crime," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari asked.
"They (the activists) are acting as B team of BJP," he added.
"The individual has disclosed all the transactions," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in Mumbai.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad sided with the Congress, saying Kejriwal was levelling wild charges against Vadra.
Claiming to be neutral, Kejriwal has said that both the Congress and the BJP alleged that he was their rival's agent.
Stating he had not read the reports about the DLF-Vadra link published in The Economic Times in March 2011, Kejriwal said there was no harm in repeating the same.
DLF, in a statement Saturday evening, denied it had advanced any unsecured loan to Vadra, or sold its assets to him at a throwaway prices, or that there was a quid pro quo in the transactions the company had with him.
"We wish to categorically state that the DLF has given no unsecured loans to Mr. Vadra or any of his companies," DLF said.
"At no stage was a property ever sold to the Skylight group below the then offered price to all customers," it said.
"DLF vehemently denies any quid pro quo in its transactions with Mr. Vadra and his group of companies," it added.
Kejriwal also launched a 'bijli-paani satyagraha' to protest against alleged inflated power and water bills in Delhi.