- Robert Vadra, the husband of Priyanka Gandhi and country’s first son-in-law so to speak, has been in the headlines for various controversial reasons, chief among them being the Haryana land grab case. The matter first came to light when Arvind Kejriwal first pointed an accusing finger at Vadra for interest-free loan of 65 crores other benefits from DLF Limited in exchange for political favors.
- Various accusations have been leveled against Vadra, that he has been guilty of various shady land deals of as many as 31 Delhi properties and an overdraft of 7.94 crores from Corporation Bank which served to catapult the man, once a “artefacts and costume jewellery” dealer, into the big league.
- If he is now considered to be a real estate kingpin, the meteoric rise has been marred by controversies including buying land at throwaway prices and then shrugging off the accusations by making his famous “Mango people in a banana republic” comment.
- A recent blog post however suggests that Vadra’s actions are not so much his own as a part of the pattern set by his famous relatives by marriage. In his blog post Dynasty’s ruthless land-grab in Lutyens’ Delhi, the writer calls attention to the book All These Years by Raj Thapar and certain illuminating passages in it.
- Raj and Romesh Thapar were a part of Indira Gandhi’s infamous ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ and the process by which she completed the journey from being the daughter of a Prime Minister to a autocratic and despotic ruler herself. Extracts of the book All These Years by Raj Thapar reveals how India’s first woman PM metamorphosed into an unscrupulous politician and initiated an entire era of sycophancy.
- The book also shines light on the fact that Teen Murti House in Delhi which was Pt Nehru’s residence, was transformed into a family shrine and how to this date, the government building is home to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) and the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund’.
- There are other instances of the Gandhi family taking over various properties within Lutyen’s Delhi appropriating them for various foundations and schemes that bear the Gandhi badge. There is the Indira Gandhi Memorial at the junction of Safdarjung Road and Akbar Road, the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust situated at Willingdon Crescent, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation at Raisina Roadand more. This is quite apart from the official residences that various members of the Gandhi family occupy.
- So if Vadra bought land from farmers for the throwaway price of Rs 20,000 an acre, perhaps is of a piece with the historical activities of his family by marriage? If Vadra’s current worth in real estate is in the region of Rs 300 crores, then perhaps he has not had far to look for inspiration?
Image Source – India Today