Caught in a controversy over allegations that he was favoured by realty major DLF, Robert Vadra on Saturday broke his silence saying he can "handle all the negativity" even as Congress and BJP sparred over the issue.
DLF insisted that its "business relationship" with Vadra or his companies had been conducted in individual capacity as per the "highest standards of ethics and transparency" and that it had "not received any undue benefit from any state government or any government authorities in any part of India".
DLF said in a statement that no unsecured loans were provided by it.
Arvind Kejriwal, who levelled allegations against Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, at a press conference here yesterday, said he was ready to face defamation case if his charges were proved untrue.
He had alleged that property worth Rs. 300 crore was given at throwaway prices by DLF to companies owned by Vadra with an unsecured interest free loan of Rs. 65 crore from given by the realty firm.
Without getting into specifics of the allegations, sources close to Vadra quoted him as saying that he "can handle all the negativity."
Apparently suggesting that he had seen worse situations, he stated, "(I) lost people I loved.. what can be worse".
Congress leadership continued to come to Vadra's defence.
Transactions between two private individuals could not be questioned on the basis of "implied act of corruption", finance minister P Chidambaram said in Mumbai.
The AICC, too, came in support of the 43-year-old businessman married to Priyanka Gandhi, with party spokesman Manish Tewari rejecting demands for a probe into the matter asking "an inquiry into what?"
BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters in Jaipur that "it is the expectation of people of the country that the matter should be investigated. It should also be probed what benefits Congress state governments in Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi gave to Vadra."
Chidambaram said what he has gathered is that these transactions are between two private individuals and they have been disclosed in the appropriate income tax and other returns.
"...nobody has alleged any quid pro quo or any corrupt motive, beyond that I cannot say anything," he added.
"I am not aware of the rightness or wrongness of the allegations .... transactions between two private individuals cannot be questioned on the basis of certain imputed or implied act of corruption," the finance minister said.
In a four-page point-by-point rebuttal of Kejriwal's allegations, DLF said, "we wish to categorically state that the DLF has given no unsecured loans to Mr Vadra or any of his companies."
Denying any quid pro quo, it said, "there is no question of offering, let alone, selling Mr Vadra or his group of companies any property at a throwaway price."
Insisting that all business transactions between DLF and Vadra and his group of companies have been conducted "with complete transparency", it said these are "fully accounted for" and "there is no question of utilisation of unaccounted black money or illicit funds as alleged."
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, whose government has been accused of favouring DLF in lieu of benefits to Vadra, denied the charges.
In Ralegaon Sidhi (Maharashtra), Anna Hazare said Congress should order a judicial probe if it is sure that the charges against Vadra are false.
"Many Congress leaders say that these allegations are only because of electoral compulsions and are baseless. We say that if the allegations are untrue, then why don't they order a judicial probe into it. And now if it is false, file a defamation case against Arvind. Truth will be out," he said.
CPI-M's Brinda Karat said the government must probe the matter and "bring the truth before the people".
CPI said the allegations are of serious nature and should be investigated.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad lashed out at Kejriwal for targeting Vadra saying he was doing so to get "cheap publicity".