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Robert Vadra, husband of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and an entrepreneur from Moradabad, was born to Rajendra and Maureen Vadra on ‎April 18, 1969.
While Vadra came into limelight after marrying into the Nehru-Gandhi family in 1997, he has consistently been in the news for cases of alleged land grabbing and dubious business dealings. He is said to have dropped out of college midway to join his family business of brassware and artificial jewellery. In 1997, Vadra started Artex, which dealt with brass handicraft and fashion accessories. Later, he also ventured into hospitality and real estate.
Robert Vadra's meteoric rise
The year 2007 turned out to be extremely lucrative for Robert Vadra. Within a year, he founded a number of firms, including Sky Light Realty, North India IT Parks, Sky Light Hospitality, Real Earth Estates, and aircraft charter firm Blue Breeze Trading.
By 2010, his firms succeeded in acquiring 29 high-value properties, with a Rs 80-crore loan from DLF, as well as Bedarwals Infra Projects, VRS Infrastructure and Nikhil International.
Also among the acquisitions were the Rs 31.7-crore purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Saket Courtyard Hospitality, which owns the 114-bed Hilton Garden Hotel in New Delhi; a 10,000-square-foot penthouse at the DLF Aralias complex for Rs 89.41 lakh; seven apartments in DLF Magnolia for Rs 5.2 crore; apartments for Rs 5.06 crore at DLF Capital Greens; and a DLF-owned plot in Delhi’s ultra-posh Greater Kailash-II area for Rs 1.21 crore. While DLF’s press release said some of these prices were “completely incorrect”, the investment numbers are all stated in the balance sheets filed by Vadra’s companies with the Registrar of Companies.
Vadra's firms also bought hundreds of acres of agricultural land in Bikaner, Manesar, Palwal, Hasanpur and Mewat.
Robert Vadra and the alleged DLF land grab scam
In October 2011, activist Arvind Kejriwal (now chief minister of Delhi) accused Vadra of taking an interest-free loan of Rs 65 crore and heavy bargains on land from DLF Limited in exchange for political favours. DLF responded that it had dealt with Vadra as a private entrepreneur and that the loan was 'Business Advance' given in accordance with the practice of trade to make payments for land purchased from Vadra. The company also said that it did not sell him land at a discounted price and that no quid pro quo took place.
Robert Vadra, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and DLF are also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over alleged irregularities in land deals. This is related to the 50-acre land grab in 2013 in the Amipur village of Haryana during the Congress' Bhupinder Singh Hooda government. Vadra allegedly made illegal gains of over Rs 50 crore from this land deal within a few months in 2008.
The alleged Bikaner land deal and money laundering case
In September 2015, the Enforcement Directorate registered a money-laundering case alleging that Robert Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality had acquired land meant for rehabilitation of poor villagers in Kolayat, Bikaner. Vadra allegedly acquired 69.55 hectares of land at a cheaper rate in connivance with Rajasthan government officials and sold it at an exorbitant price to Allegenery Finlease through fraudulent transactions. In February 2019, the Rajasthan High Court issued summons to Vadra and his mother Maureen (a director in all the companies that Vadra owns) over the said landing dealings.
The petroleum deal case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged in 2009 that Vadra and his associates got kickbacks in a petroleum deal inked during the time of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. According to ED, Vadra purchased London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds, as part of the 'kickbacks'. The case is being probed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Robert Vadra's response to the allegations
In response to the ED summons and BJP allegations, Robert Vadra said: "The political witch-hunt carries on unceasingly with government departments clearly operating on an agenda to besmirch my dignity and reputation."
Vadra said he had cooperated fully with the government departments in the past four-and-a-half years and would continue to do so. He claimed that the authorities wanted to create another "media circus" to distract the public. "It's nothing but a politically motivated, malicious and baseless prosecution. The truth will prevail someday," he said. 


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