New Report Reveals Rahul Gandhi’s Link To Arms Dealer Who Lobbied For Rafale Offset Contract During UPA Rule

by Swarajya Staff - Mar 12, 2019 06:29 PM +05:30 IST
New Report Reveals Rahul Gandhi’s Link To Arms Dealer Who Lobbied For Rafale Offset Contract During UPA RuleRahul Gandhi (Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images)
Snapshot
  • Leave alone Robert Vadra, there now appear to be links between Sanjay Bhandari, a fugitive arms dealer, and Rahul Gandhi himself.

Amid Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s renewed attacks on the Rafale deal, a new report by OpIndia has revealed his links with fugitive arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, who is also close to his brother-in-law Robert Vadra.

Bhandari, who is under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his shady dealings, had lobbied for a part of the Rafale offset pie during the rue of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. According to The Economic Times, Bhandari had applied ‘considerable pressure’ for a slice of the work.

The OpIndia report suggests that Rahul Gandhi is linked to Bhandari through a Dubai-based businessman named C C Thampi. Here’s what the portal has found:

Rahul Gandhi had bought 6.5 acres of land in Haryana’s Hassanpur from Gurgaon resident H L Pahwa in 2008 for a small price of Rs 26.47 lakh. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and brother-in-law Robert Vadra also bought land from Pahwa.

A piece of land bought by Priyanka Gandhi in 2006 for Rs 15 lakh was sold back to Pahwa just four years later (in 2010) for Rs 84.15 lakh. According to the portal’s report, Pahwa paid for this piece of land in five installments citing “non-availability of funds”. Other reports, including this from 2013, also suggest that Pahwa brought back land sold to Robert Vadra at a loss of about Rs 2.5 crore.

Why? OpIndia report says, citing files in ED’s possession, that Pahwa was paid Rs 54 crore by Thampi to pay for the land bought back at inflated price.

According to recent reports, ED believes that Vadra received kickback for a deal between Samsung and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation in 2009 through a Sharjah-based company controlled by Thampi.

Thampi, who is under ED’s scanner for Foreign Exchange Management Act violations of Rs 1,000 crore, is a close business associate of Bhandari. According to the portal, there appears to be a money trail between the two.

For the petroleum deal, Bhandari’s firm is said to have received $49,99,969 as kickback in its bank account. He transferred £19,22,262 to UK and used this fund to buy two shares of a company named Vortex, which was holding a flat in London. To sum up, the money that Bhandari received as kickback was used by him to acquire the property from Vortex by way of purchasing its two shares.

ED, according to reports, has accessed emails exchanged between Bhandari and Robert Vadra which suggest that the latter is the actual owner of the property.

Soon after, this flat was sold by Bhandari’s firm to a company named Skylight FZE. This company is owned by none other than Thampi.

During a raid at Bhandari’s residence in Delhi in 2016, several secret defence documents were recovered. Soon after, he was booked by the Delhi police under the Official Secrets Act. In 2017, and fled to London.

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.