The man who arrived on a tractor to file his nomination paper and became the richest politician in the country has been Delhi’s best-kept secret.
Deepak Bhardwaj (58), the real estate tycoon, has always kept such a low profile in his 26-year career as a property developer in Delhi that no one knows his name outside, perhaps, his circle. Even the website of his company, Delhi Apartments Pvt Ltd, does not carry his picture.
“I am just a farmer,” said the man who still tills his own land in Samhalka village. “But my work has taken me to many countries all over the world. My assets disclosure means I am an honest man. I have paid taxes of around Rs 100 crore in India and abroad,” he told Hindustan Times.
Originally from a farming family in Sonepat, Bhardwaj is a B.Com from Delhi University. He arrived in Delhi 40 years ago.
In 1983, he founded his company and struck gold. His personal land in Delhi and nearby areas is worth over Rs 400 crore. He also has bonds and shares worth Rs 16 crore, apart from jewellery.
Bhardwaj lives in his farmhouse in Mahipalpur's Neetesh Kunj, an elite township built by his company which has also built the landmark Deepganga Township in Haridwar.
The Bhardwajs own Shiksha Bharti Senior Secondary School in Dwarka. “I have just bought a 44 -acre land in Delhi's Dhansa village to build a university,” he said, adding, “I am also coming up with four and five-star hotels in Delhi and the NCR for Commonwealth Games in Delhi,” he said.
This farmer also owes around Rs 35 crore to nationalised banks and financial institutions and does not have a single flashy car.
A modest Maruti Omni and Esteem, apart from his 20-year-old tractor-worth just Rs 13 lakh -are all he claimed to have in his automobile stable. But these do not include the assets bought in his company’s name.
On BSP giving him a ticket, Bhardwaj, a Brahmin, said: “As a citizen I was fed up with Congress and BJP who have ruled the country but haven't protected its interests. So, BSP was my choice.”
He has also lived in Canada between 1998 and 2005 to further his business. His wife’s name is Ramesh Kumari Bhardwaj. His sons Hitesh and Nitesh assist him.
Regarding a plan for his constituency, Bhardwaj said he has bought two vans and named them ‘Jana Seva Vahan’.
He said the vans would roam the areas carrying retired IAS officers interacting with people to understand their problems. “I have divided the area between Najafgarh and Rajouri for administrative purpose,” he said.