Robert Vadra’s benami land deals form tip of the iceberg
By Yatish Yadav | Published: 10th September 2017 10:36 AM |
Documents reveal that the Congress president’s son-in-law bought land through his bodyguard and his driver, by wiring money into their bank accounts. CBI and ED investigators believe this is just a small part of the big picture.
BIKANER/NEW DELHI: 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 police bodyguard and his driver to purchase and sell four chunks of land spread over 275 bighas in Kolayat Tehsil in Bikaner district of Rajasthan at a net profit of about Rs 4.5 crore. Former bodyguard Mahesh Nagar was with the Delhi Police. His driver Ashok Kumar is currently missing.
A review of documents—according to CBI officials, the most crucial pieces of papers in Vadra’s shady land deals—reveals startling facts on alleged forgery of documents, land pieces passing through multiple hands, and use of ghosts and proxies to extract maximum profit in real estate business.
The first land deal under the scanner is two portions of land—75 bigha and 50 bigha in Gajner, Bikaner. The pieces of earth were first registered in revenue records on September 14, 1992, as government-owned land. It was 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.
Its registration number was 75 and put in official records on October 16, 2007. Natharam was allocated 50 bigha while Hari Ram got 75 bigha of land. And, the Khasra Number was 710/499 in the revenue record of the district. Interestingly, the mediator in this entire forged land deal was shown as someone called Guganagar, a resident of Churu district of Rajasthan. A month later on November 19, 2007, the land was sold to Rajendra Kumar, a resident of Khajuwala village for Rs 2 lakh. The registration number has been shown as No.120 in the land records in this case.
On January 4, 2010, Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd, owned by Vadra, bought the land for Rs 30 lakh. The money to purchase the land was transferred to Ashok Kumar, whom Vadra gave power of attorney by Vadra. In the land record, the property was registered as No. 238. Kumar, 54, of Bhuapur Village of Faridabad, had signed the deal. On February 21, 2012, the land was sold to Allegeny Finlease Pvt Ltd for Rs 2.34 crore. The registration was shown as No. 387/21.02.12 and the company is registered at R-67, Basement, Greater Kailash-I, New Delhi.
Similarly, 150 bighas of land in Goyalari Village, Bikaner, was registered on September 16, 1992. The government land was transferred to Bhaira Ram of Rampura village, and Jora Ram of Jagatsinghpura village, allegedly on the basis of forged documents. Bhaira was allotted 65 bighas while Jora got 85 bighas. The same mysterious Guganagar of Churu was the mediator in the deal that was registered as No. 319/237 in the land records on February 1, 2007. On March 21, 2007, it was sold to Yogesh Agarwal of Saadulganj, Bikaner, for Rs 6.5 lakh. On August 20, 2007, it was sold to Satish Kumar Goyal of Bikaner; Baburam Goyal of Guhana in Haryana; Ghanshyam Bansal of Panipat, Haryana; Rajendra Prasad of Panipat; and Kailash Agarwal of Rohini, New Delhi. Record 118/20.08.2007 show the land was sold for Rs 8.25 lakh.
Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd bought both the portion of land through its proxy Mahesh Nagar, a Delhi Police constable who was Vadra’s bodyguard but later resigned from the service. Officials said Nagar continued to work for Vadra. Government record number 188 shows the land was bought for Rs 42 lakh on January 4, 2010, and was sold to Allegeny Finlease Pvt Ltd for Rs 2.81 crore on February 27, 2012. Allegeny issued power of attorney to Rishal Khan of Palwal in Haryana. It was registered in the land record as No. 249/27/02/12.
What is perplexing is Vadra’s use Ashok Kumar, Nagar’s driver to ink the land deals. CBI sources said Kumar’s bank accounts were under the scanner as they was used to funnel money to purchase land on behalf of Vadra. CBI officials said though Rajasthan Police sent a team to serve notice on Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law in Delhi, they were unable to question him.
“We will grill him (Vadra) after collecting all the evidences,” said the CBI sources. Heads of Rajasthan bureaucrats are likely to roll once the CBI probe gathers steam. The CBI is going through Rajasthan Police case files to build its investigation to find out whether the suspected bureaucrat-Vadra connivance had the blessings of the top brass of the previous Congress government in the state.
Investigators are hunting for Kumar, who went underground in February. He was questioned once by Bikaner Police. He had admitted that money was wired through his account to buy land. Nagar was recently confronted by police but refused to divulge any details. Police said Kumar and Nagar were involved in spreading propaganda about the government planning to establish industries in villages where Vadra had purchased these lands.
Ten other persons role has been proved beyond doubt by investigators—Jai Prakash, son of Har Dayal, Arjansar, Bikaner; Uma Charan, son of Hari Ram, 5-D-10, HUDCO quarters, Bikaner; Deeparam, son of Udaram, Mithadiya, Bikaner; Rajendra Kumar Shandilya, son of Nand Lal, 3/503, Mukta Prasad Colony, Bikaner; Fakir Mohammad, son of Hafiz Mohammad, Subhashpura, Bikaner; Mahavir, son of Bihari Lal, Vaidya Magharam Colony, Bikaner; Ranjit Singh, son of Ram Singh, Subhashpura village, Bikaner; Kishore Singh, son of Ram Singh, Subhashpura village, Bikaner; Guganagar, son of Guman Giri, Doodhgiri village, Churu district; Madan Gopal, Vishwakarma Colony, Bikaner.
FROM the CBI FILES
The Central Government had acquired land of 34 villages in Bikaner district to establish ‘Mahajan Field Firing Range’ for the Army. The government paid compensation to displaced persons and the state government proposed their rehabilitation by providing land equivalent to their acquired land in Bikaner district itself at a minimum price. For this, they had to fill the Khasra number and name of village in the application form. Thereafter, the Colonisation Department was to examine these applications and after deposit of the price of the land through challan, it allot land to them.
The allottee was to move an application along with the allotment letter and other original documents pertaining to the allotment in the Tehsil Office. After verifying the documents and their genuineness, the allotted land would be transferred to the allottee. The land mafia conspired with government servants like Patwaris and Naib Tehsildars, and forged allotment letters. They marked vacant government land in revenue villages of Goyalari, Madh, Indoka Bala and Gajner of Kolayat tehsil in collusion with government officials Uma Charan, Mahavir, Deeparam, Rajendra Kumar Shandilya, Madan Gopal and Fakir Mohammed, and obtained Khasra numbers of vacant government land.
“Government officials prepared forged allotment letters of vacant land, in the name of such persons, who were neither resident of the villages the lands of which were acquired for Mahajan Field Firing Range nor their names were in the list of displaced persons. Even the forged allotment letters were prepared in the name of non-existent persons,” CBI papers said.
Two FIRs were filed at Kolayat Police Station and 16 at Gajner Police station in Bikaner, Rajasthan, on August 28, 2014, by Gajendra Singh, Revenue Tehsildar of Kolayat. Singh told investigators that government officials in league with land mafia prepared forged documents and then illegally acquired and sold large tracts of land, causing huge loss to the government exchequer.
Enough Evidence for Prosecution in Vadra Land Deal: Enforcement Directorate
The ED, which is probing the money-laundering angle in the scam, said funds derived out of the land deals may have been diverted for other purposes and may have been projected as untainted money.
“All the persons, who directly or indirectly indulged in the commission of offence, enjoyed the proceeds of the crime, including acquisition and possession of the properties wrongfully gained by them. These persons 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.