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Records prove Robert Vadra-DLF nexus

Thursday, 4 December 2014 – 7:20am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

With Robert Vadra submitting the balance sheets of five of his companies to the ministry of corporate affairs in the second half of October 2014, the cosy relationship he had with realty giant DLF becomes even more evident.

Vadra had withheld these balance sheets since 2011 when he landed into a controversy for allegedly taking unsecured loans from DLF. The annual returns along with the financials of the last three years have now been filed in the span of five days.

An analysis of these returns confirms and reflects an anomaly in the most controversial land deal — Rs 58-crore — between Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality Private Limited and real estate giant DLF in Gurgaon, bordering Delhi.

Besides, Skylight Hospitality comes out as the only major business venture of Vadra, which has been pampered by DLF with huge loans and advances. Living virtually on DLF’s money, Skylight Hospitality also bought DLF flats/properties and gave initial push to Vadra’s other companies. Vadra as per the annual returns draws salary of Rs 60 lakh per annum from Sky Light Realty Private Limited.

The story so far was that Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality had allegedly taken unsecured loan (in the form of business advance) worth Rs65 crore from DLF. Vadra had raised this company only with Rs5 lakh as authorised capital and then he suddenly had Rs 65 crore given by DLF in various tranches.

DLF, in its press release issued in 2012, had vehemently denied that it was an unsecured loan and had stated that Vadra completed one of the projects and paid back Rs15 crore advance which was given for another failed land deal in Faridabad.

Skylight Hospitality’s fresh balance sheets, however, indicate that Vadra’s empire was courtesy DLF. Skylight Hospitality bought land – 3.5 acre plot in Gurgaon – with advance money given by DLF.

Skylight Hospitality had only Rs 1 lakh in its account when they bought the plot for Rs15.38 crore. Vadra sold off the same to DLF for Rs58 crore and thus paid all his debt taken from DLF! Vadra had added value to this plot by getting all the clearances from the then Congress government of Haryana. It seems that DLF gave an advance to Vadra’s companies of exact amount which Vadra needed to buy DLF properties.

DLF, in its 2012 press release, stated: “An amount of Rs 65 crore was given (to Skylight Hospitality) as business advances for the purchase of land as per standard industry practice.’’

dna asked DLF’s vice-president (communication) Sanjey Roy if DLF can give at least one specific instance of a business transaction where it paid 100 per cent money in advance to any party other than Robert Vadra, for a piece of land. Sanjey Roy didn’t give any specific instance but stated that DLF had paid at least Rs 4,000 crore as loans and advances for different deals. “Similarly we paid advances to Skylight,” the spokesperson added.

To top it all, DLF’s press release claims that it had taken possession of land way back in 2008-2009, as soon as Robert Vadra sold the land. Skylight’s balance sheet, submitted on October 16, however, shows that Vadra transacted the sale deal with DLF in 2012-2013, four years after he had sold the plot.

Thus DLF parked Rs 65 crore in Skylight Hospitality four years in advance in anticipation of a plot.

Even the first draft of the CAG report submitted earlier this year, points out that the Haryana government entered into a bilateral deal with Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality to develop a commercial complex in Shikhopur in Gurgaon but lost Rs 41.5 crore in the process.

DLF in its response to dna maintained that the company took the possession of land in 2008-09 financial year.

“We are not privy to the balance sheets of Skylight and don’t know what it mentions or claims,” a DLF spokesperson told dna.

The balance sheets of all five companies for 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 filed by Vadra between October 15 and October 20 this year also reflect that Skylight Hospitality is his core business venture that gets huge loans and advances as and when needed. In most cases, these advances lie idle from one balance sheet to another.

FDR’s are taken and loans given to his group companies with these advances.The group companies also buy mainly DLF properties with these loans. In one such instance, Real Earth Estate Pvt Ltd received Rs five crore business advance in 2012, for some unspecified collaboration agreement.

The 2011-12 balance sheet of Skylight Hospitality shows an interesting investment of Rs 35 crore in Saket Courtyard Hospitality. This is the exact amount DLF pays as an installment to Skylight for a Gurgoan deal in the same financial year.

An email sent to Vadra by dna was responded by a law firm Suman Khaitan and Co. The lawyer stated that Vadra cannot respond to statements of the newspaper regarding transactions of years 2008-09 to 2012-13 within a short time.

The letter further read, “Our client also denies and disputes all statements, averments and allegations which are contrary to records and hereby calls upon you and puts you on notice not to make or publish any allegation or statement which is not true or relevant and in public interest and in contravention of our client’s (Vadra) right to privacy and to carry on his business without harassment or interference.”

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