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Smriti Irani questions Kapil Sibal’s land deal, Congress leader hits back

Congress leader Kapil Sibal rejected the charges and said he will file a defamation case.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2018 19:33 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service, New Delhi
Smriti Irani,Kapil Sibal,Land scam
File photo of information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani. (PTI Photo)

Former law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal bought a piece of land in Delhi worth crores for a “very small price” from an accused in a money laundering case, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Thursday.

Referring to a report by a website alleging that Sibal acquired the land by paying just Rs 1 lakh, information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani said Sibal and his wife got the ownership of a company, Grande Castello, from a businessman named Piyoosh Goyal.

She said some details about Sibal’s acquisition of the company and his dealings with Goyal were first published in January by some investigative journalists based in South Africa. Irani also said the UPA government had ordered a probe against Goyal then.

Quoting the news report, Irani said, “Grande Castello, with no business in Financial Year 2013-14, commenced purchase of a piece of land, which eventually cost Rs 45.21 crores. To fund, this, the company raised interest-free loans and book overdrafts.

“Once the land was registered in the company’s name in 2014-15, the company decided to revalue the aforesaid land based on the ‘Market Value’ as per valuation report obtained from the Government Registered valuer, thus raising the value of the land by Rs 43.79 crores to Rs 89 crore, almost doubling the value,” she said.

Firing salvos at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Irani said, “If Sibal wants do to a business deal with a man accused of money laundering is his choice... But is it acceptable to Rahul Gandhi?”

Reacting to her statement, Sibal rejected the charges, saying the minister, who does not know the definition of money laundering, was making an allegation.

“I bought a company, paid for it, paid from my income... I earn well. My Income Tax return is up to date, I have also filed corporate tax returns. You do not want to see records and allege money laundering,” he said.

Sibal also slammed Irani for dragging Rahul Gandhi into the issue.

“It is sad that in this country economics and maths exam papers are leaked which never happened in the past. I have also been the HRD minister. If you talk about Election Commission, election dates are leaked. If you look at Aadhaar, data is leaked. But when they have to protect their own degrees, the information never leaks. So the government knows how to protect information, what they don’t want leaked is not leaked.

“I am surprised she did a press conference and did not ask why the Prime Minister has close relations with Nirav Modi. BJP leaders should tell us about their relations with Lalit Modi,” he said.

Asked if he will file a defamation case, Sibal said yes.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 19:33 IST