New Delhi: Responding sharply to a media report about the company that gave loans to his firm got relief from tax panel, Robert Vadra on Friday said that it is part of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Plan B to drag his name into controversies to distract public attention from its governance failures.
Vadra, who is a Congress member and brother-in-law of party president Rahul Gandhi, underlined that it is part of BJP’s strategy to drag his name whenever they find themselves on the back foot “be it Rafale or the prospect of losing assembly elections.”
Issuing a clarification on the social networking site, Vadra said: “A flurry of media queries are suddenly being sent to me based on entirely false allegations probably being leaked by the government as polling day in Rajasthan comes close!! Interestingly, most of the issues arising thereof happen to be sub-judice. Is it a mere coincidence that this also coincides with certain government agencies accelerating their activities and raking up issues that either have no connection to me at all or I have already responded to years ago and cooperated with them fully over the last four years?”
“The sad part is that everyone except the BJP can see how desperate, blatantly political and vindictive these tactics are. I hope independent and professional persons in the media stay focused on issues that really matter to the public in Rajasthan like massive unemployment and misgovernance and don’t allow themselves to get dragged into what is clearly the government’s plan B every time they find themselves on the back foot be it Rafale or the prospect of losing assembly elections,” Vadra wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.
Vadra’s response came after The Indian Express newspaper carried an article claiming the company that gave a loan to Vadra to buy land at a premium got huge relief from Settlement Commission. The newspaper report claimed that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) asked Settlement Commission for details on Bhushan Power & Steel Limited (BPSL) which gave Rs 5.64 crore to Delhi-based Allegeny Finlease Pvt Ltd, which as per its records, used the money to buy land in Bikaner from Sky Light Hospitality which is owned by Vadra.
The report said that in 2011-12, BPSL gave a loan of Rs 5.64 crore to Allegeny. The report added that around the same time in December 2011, the Settlement Commission passed an order, admitting BPSL’s application against the Income Tax Department which had issued a show-cause notice to BPSL asking the company to make income additions for assessment years 2004-05 to 2011-12 on various accounts aggregating to over Rs 800 crore.
“In its final order, accessed by The Indian Express, the Settlement Commission not only reduced the quantum of income addition for BPSL to Rs 317 crore, thereby providing relief on income of around Rs 500 crore, but also granted it immunity from prosecution and penalty. This was a sharp departure from the order issued by the previous bench barely two weeks earlier,” the newspaper said.