NEW DELHI (TIP): Allegations of wrongdoing in land deals by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and his “mango people” comment have found their way into the court with two PILs filed even as the Congress countered by accusing India Against Corruption (IAC) member Prashant Bhushan of graft. The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on October 11 asked the central government to respond to charges levelled against Robert Vadra by IAC member Arvind Kejriwal. The court, which was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by activist Nutan
Thakur, fixed November 21 as the next date for hearing. The PIL sought a thorough probe into the charges levelled by Kejriwal and his colleagues. In her petition, Thakur told the court that she had also sent a letter to principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) but was sure that it would not be responded to. Last week, Kejriwal and lawyer Prashant Bhushan had alleged that Vadra had benefited immensely from a quid pro quo in deals with real estate giant DLF.
In Jaipur, a complaint was Thursday filed in a lower court against Vadra for his ‘mango people (aam admi) in banana republic’ comment on his Facebook page. The complaint was filed by lawyer A.C. Upadhyay in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate S.K. Ojha. Upadhyay said: ‘I approached the court as the remarks of Vadra are defamatory and against the Constitution of India, the court and its people. I had filed a complaint which the court has accepted.’ The complaint was filed under sections 124A (sedition), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 500 and 501 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.
‘The court will take up the matter for hearing Oct 18,’ said the officer. Vadra had reportedly written a comment on his Facebook page Monday that read: ‘Mango people in banana republic….’ The comment had come two days after Kejriwal alleged that the son-inlaw of the country’s ruling party chief had indulged in quid pro quo realestate deals with a realty major. Meanwhile, the Congress targeted IAC member and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan and his family members over land in Himachal Pradesh allegedly acquired by an educational society linked to him at a concessional price.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Himachal Pradesh had given away the land in Palampur worth several crores of rupees to the educational society for just a few lakhs. Some members of the Bhushan family are part of the trust. ‘But no work has taken place on the land, which is a garden land. It was given away to the educational society at a cheap rate. If this is not corruption, what is?’ Shukla asked. He told reporters here that the matter was raised by Congress legislators in Himachal Pradesh, but no action had been initiated by the state government.