Vadra land deal probe in Rajasthan may be an exercise in futility
The Vasundhara Raje government's probe into the allegedly dubious land deals by Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, may yield nothing, legal experts and revenue department officials have said.india Updated: Feb 09, 2014 23:11 IST
The Vasundhara Raje government's probe into the allegedly dubious land deals by Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, may yield nothing, legal experts and revenue department officials have said.
The deals, in which 9,000 acres of land was purchased by several companies owned by Vadra, took place between 2009-11 when a Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot was in power in the state.
Vadra is also in the spotlight in neighbouring Haryana where similar illegal dealings led to a major showdown between the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government and an IAS officer Ashok Khemka.
Khemka has been charge-sheeted by the Hooda government for "wrongly" cancelling mutation of a land deal between Vadra and realty giant DLF in 2012.
Though the Raje government is yet to announce a full probe into the matter, the Rajasthan Revenue Board has sought details of land purchased by Vadra-owned companies in Bikaner, Barmer, Jodhpur and some parts of Jaisalmer.
Chairperson of the board CP Meena has written to the district collectors of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer to send details about Vadra's land holdings.
As per rough government estimates, Vadra may have bought over 9,000 acres of land in the state. The land was further sold to various solar power companies.
The premise on which the government wants to probe the land deals is the way in which agriculture land was bought and converted into industrial category.
The government is also focusing on violation of the Land Ceiling Act.
After initial findings, officials would be sent to the areas to record statements of farmers to find whether they sold their land willingly or were forced to do so.
"Such a probe is not likely to yield any result. As far as the Land Ceiling Act is concerned, the land was bought under various companies and the farmers were paid more than the then market price in the area," said a senior revenue board official seeking anonymity.
Under such circumstances, the probe is likely to be rendered just as a political gimmick.
According to the registrar's offices, the lands deals were made in the names of companies including Real Earth Estate Private Limited, Sky Lights Private Limited, Sky Lights Hospitality Private Limited, North India IT Parks Private Limited, Alfa Heights Private Limited, Blue Bridge Trading Private Limited and Dreams Power Real Estate and Marketing Private Limited.
It was after the Union government announced a judicial probe into the snoopgate issue allegedly involving Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi that five senior BJP MPs had written to Raje demanding a probe into Vadra's land deals under the Commissions of Inquiry Act.
"Whether the state government benefitted Vadra by passing on information about solar policy and refinery project in those areas is tough to prove. He bought land before the solar policy was announced the refinery project was finalised," said the officer.
Last year, Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone of a Rs 37,230-crore refinery and petrochemical complex at Pachparda in Barmer district.
"The man (Vadra) must have been informed by the government that prices would shoot up in the region when solar power projects are announced. The Congress government's role in facilitating land deals and announcing projects in the area after land deals should be probed by an independent agency," demanded former BJP legislator from Kolayat in Bikaner, Devi Singh Bhati.
First Published: Feb 09, 2014 23:07 IST