BIKANER: After registering an FIR to probe Robert Vadra’s alleged tainted land deals in Rajasthan, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is now focusing on the use of proxies — such as his former bodyguard and his driver — to purchase and sell four chunks of land spread over 275 bighas, in Kolayat tehsil of Rajasthan’s Bikaner district, at a profit of about `4.5 crore. Mahesh Nagar, former bodyguard of the Congress president’s son-in-law, was with the Delhi Police. Vadra’s driver, Ashok Kumar, is on the run.
The most crucial papers on Vadra’s shady land deals, according to CBI officials, reveal startling facts on alleged forgery of documents, land passing through multiple hands, and the use of proxies to extract maximum profit.
The first deal under the scanner is of two pieces of land, one 75 bigha and the other 50 bigha, in Gajner, Bikaner. These were first registered in revenue records on Sept 14, 1992 as government-owned land and later allotted to Natharam, son of Kishnaram Jat, and Hari Ram, son of Lunaram — both residents of Jagatsinghpura village — in connivance with the district revenue officials, who forged the documents to sell the land. The registration number, 75, was put on official records on October 16, 2007.
Natharam was allocated 50 bigha, while Hari Ram got 75 bigha, and the Khasra Number 710/499 was entered in the district revenue records. The mediator in this forged deal was shown as a person named ‘Guganagar’, of Rajasthan’s Churu district. A month later, on November 19, 2007, the land was sold to Rajendra Kumar, of Khajuwala village, for `2 lakh. The registration number for this is shown as ‘No. 120’ in the land records.
On January 4, 2010, Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd, owned by Vadra, bought the land for `30 lakh. The money for the purchase was transferred to the bank accounts of Ashok Kumar, who was given the power of attorney by Vadra. In the land records, this property was registered as ‘No. 238’.
Kumar, 54, of Bhuapur Village, Faridabad, had signed the deal. Two years later, on February 21, 2012, the land was sold to Allegeny Finlease Pvt Ltd for `2.34 crore. In the land records, the registration has been shown as ‘No. 387/21.02.12’ and the company was registered at R-67, Basement, Greater Kailash-I, New Delhi.
Similarly, 150 bigha of land in Goyalari Village, Bikaner, was registered on September 16, 1992. The government land was transferred to Bhaira Ram, a resident of Rampura village, and Jora Ram, of Jagatsinghpura village, allegedly on the basis of forged documents. Bhaira Ram was allotted 65 bigha while Jora Ram got 85 bigha. The same mysterious Guganagar of Churu district acted as a mediator in the land deal that was registered as No. 319/237 in the land records on February 1, 2007. Two months later, on March 21, 2007, it was sold to Yogesh Agarwal, a resident of Saadulganj, Bikaner, for `6.5 lakh. On August 20, 2007, the land was sold to five persons—Satish Kumar Goyal, of Bikaner; Baburam Goyal, of Guhana, Haryana; Ghanshyam Bansal, of Panipat, Haryana; Rajendra Prasad, of Panipat; and Kailash Agarwal, of Rohini, New Delhi. Government records 118/20.08.2007 show that the land was sold for `8.25 lakh.
Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd bought both pieces of land through its proxy Mahesh Nagar, a Delhi Police constable who worked as Vadra’s bodyguard but later resigned from the service. Government officials said Nagar continued to work for Vadra after resigning. Government record number 188 shows the land was purchased for `42 lakh on January 4, 2010 and sold to Allegeny Finlease Pvt Ltd for `2.81 crore on February 27, 2012. Allegeny, while signing the deal with Sky Light Hospitality, had issued power of attorney in the name of Rishal Khan, a resident of Palwal, Haryana. This has been registered in the land record as No. 249/27/02/12.
What is perplexing investigators is Vadra’s use of proxy Ashok Kumar, who is a driver of his bodyguard Mahesh Nagar, to ink the questionable land deals. CBI sources said Kumar’s bank accounts were under the scanner as they were used to funnel the money to purchase land on behalf of Vadra. CBI officials said though the Rajasthan Police had sent a team to serve a notice to Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law at one of his Delhi offices, they were unable to question him. “We will grill him (Vadra) at an appropriate time after collecting all the evidence,” CBI sources said. Heads of Rajasthan bureaucrats are likely to roll once the CBI probe gathers steam as investigators say connivance with Vadra and his team was very evident.
The CBI is going through the Rajasthan Police case files to build its investigation and find whether the suspected bureaucrat - Vadra’s connivance had the blessings of the top brass of the previous Congress government in the State.
Investigators are hunting for driver Kumar, who went underground in February. He was questioned once by local police officers of Bikaner. Son of Kalwa, a resident of Bhuapur, Faridabad, Kumar had admitted during the questioning that money was wired through his account to purchase the land under the scanner.
“He went underground after the first round of questioning but gave us a crucial piece of information that Vadra’s bodyguard Nagar was the front man for all such deals,” an investigator revealed.
Nagar, 48, son of Bharat Singh, resident of 453, Sector 17, Faridabad, was recently confronted by the local police but refused to divulge any details about the land deals. Investigators confirmed that Nagar was working as Vadra’s full-time employee.
‘Saheb aap jaan se bhi maar doge toh bhi Vadra saheb ke baare mein kuchh nahin bolunga. Unke khandan ne hamare liye bahut kuchh kiya hai (Sir, I won’t speak about Robert Vadra, even if you kill me. His family has done a lot for us,” the investigators quoted Nagar as saying during the interrogation.
Ashok and Nagar, local police authorities said, were involved in spreading propaganda about government planning to establish the industries in these villages where Vadra had purchased these lands.
“There was so much disinformation campaign that people were forced to believe that these villages will turn into industrial hub soon. Some local officials were also part of the propaganda campaign to make it authentic. Vadra’s men also built some roads to make the arid land look like a profitable deal. This was done with a view to jacking up the land prices which he had bought at throwaway price,” they further added.
Babus conspired with land mafia, claim CBI
The CBI claim that the land mafia conspired with the government servants and formed a league to forge and fabricate documents. Two FIRs were filed at Kolayat Police Station and sixteen at Gajner Police station in Bikaner, Rajasthan, on August 28, 2014, by Gajendra Singh, Revenue Tehsildar of Kolayat. Singh has told the investigators that the government officials in league with land mafia, with a motive to grab the government property, prepared forged documents and then illegally acquired and sold large tracts of land, causing huge loss to the government exchequer.
Enough evidence for prosecution: ED
The ED, which is probing the money-laundering angle in the entire scam, said funds derived out of the shady land deals may have been diverted for other purposes and the same may have been projected as untainted money. “All the persons, who directly or indirectly indulged in the commission of offence have caused wrongful loss to the government and their act comes within the definition of offence of money laundering and there is sufficient evidence on record to prove them guilty of the offence of money laundering,” the ED note said.