Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday filed his nomination from Wayanad, Kerala while his sister looked on and urged Wayanad to ‘take care of her brother’. Rahul had chosen to contest from Wayanad in addition to Amethi as a ‘safe option’ considering Amethi, the Gandhi bastion, might just fall to the fiesty BJP candidate and Union Minister Smriti Irani who has been working in the constituency tirelessly despite her loss in 2014.
However, this ‘safe seat’ might throw up some new questions for Rahul Gandhi that would probably be difficult to answer. His election affidavit, which was filed by Rahul Gandhi to seal his candidature has thrown up serious questions about properties that OpIndia reported about earlier.
In his 2019 election affidavit, Rahul Gandhi lists purchase of two properties in Signature Towers II which is owned by Unitech. According to the election affidavit, Rahul Gandhi has declared that he purchased two properties in Signature Tower II, office spaces B-007 and B-008. The Affidavit says that that office space B007 was purchased for Rs. 1.65 crores and B008 was purchased for Rs. 6.27 crores.
Interestingly, the affidavit says that the properties were purchased on 1st December 2014.
Earlier, OpIndia had reported how Rahul Gandhi had purchased the same two properties in 2010. In October 2010, after the Supreme Court asked the Congress to reply to a notice regarding 2G and just weeks before the CAG report on 2G was tabled in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi had signed a deal with Unitech to buy two office units in this Unitech’s ‘Signature Tower 2’ in Gurgaon. Rahul Gandhi had paid Rs 1.44 crore and Rs 5.36 crore for B-007 & B-008 in this plush tower. The balance payment was meant to be paid upon possession of the properties.
After whistleblowers spoke to OpIndia, Republic TV had also released the documents where Rahul Gandhi had signed the purchase papers.
The same properties, B007 and B008 which were purchased by Rahul Gandhi in October 2010, have re-appeared in the 2019 election affidavit that Rahul Gandhi has filed now, in Wayanad.
Interestingly, as we reported earlier, in Rahul Gandhi’s 2014 election affidavit, these two properties were not listed by Rahul Gandhi.
In 2014, after the properties were purchased in October 2010, Rahul Gandhi in his election affidavit had only listed the farmhouse he owns jointly with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Unitech is infamous for its involvement in the 2G scam. In early 2008, Unitech Wireless, a subsidiary of Unitech, was granted a pan-India telecom license by the government for Rs. 1,658 crore under the infamous first-come, first-serve policy. Subsequently, it sold 67% of its shares to Telenor of Norway for Rs 6,120 crore. This placed the value of the company at Rs. 9,100 crores. The stake sale happened when the company had no other asset, therefore, it was only fair to assume that it was the value of the license it held.
Then, the CAG report blew the lid off the scam. It said that the inexpensive spectrum sale caused a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the government exchequer while benefiting private entities like Unitech. It was further alleged that rules and guidelines were violated in the process which suggested a collusion between those who got the licenses and those who received it.
In our previous expose, we had written:
The timeline of the entire series of events is also interesting. In October 2009, the CBI registered a case into the alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum. On October 8, 2010, the Supreme Court sought the then UPA government’s response to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s or CAG report on the alleged scam. In October, the same year, Rahul Gandhi purchased two commercial properties at Gurugram’s Signatures Towers-II owned by Unitech. Needless to say, this property doesn’t find a mention in his 2014 affidavit. Intriguingly, several of such deals struck with dubious, scam-ridden individuals is strategically struck to avoid the hint of it appearing in his election affidavits which is for public consumption.
Our assumption at that time was that perhaps the properties did not appear in the 2014 election affidavit because between 2010 and 2014, the properties may have been sold by Rahul Gandhi.
However, with the emergence of these properties in Rahul Gandhi’s 2019 affidavit, there are some pertinent questions that Rahul Gandhi must answer the most important one being, why the properties did not find a mention in his 2014 affidavit.
There are only two possible scenarios that would explain the inexplicable absence of these properties in his 2014 election affidavit.
The first scenario that would explain the absence of the Signature Tower properties being absent from his 2014 election affidavit is if Rahul Gandhi, after purchasing these properties in 2010 October had subsequently sold these two properties before filing his 2014 election affidavit and then repurchased it on 1st December 2014 as his 2019 affidavit now claims.
This is, of course, a far more unlikely scenario because selling a property just to purchase it later at an inflated price would make little to no business sense. In 2010, Rahul Gandhi had paid Rs 1.44 crore and Rs 5.36 crore for B-007 and B-008 in this plush tower. In his 2019 election affidavit, Rahul Gandhi says that that in 2014 office space B007 was purchased for Rs. 1.65 crores and B008 was purchased for Rs. 7.93 crores.
The price in 2010 for which there are signed agreements and the price listen in his 2019 affidavit have a substantial difference. The cost of the property in which Rahul Gandhi claims he purchased the property in 2014 is much higher than the cost that he signed up for in 2010.
Thus, it would make no sense to assert that Rahul Gandhi purchased these properties from Unitech in October 2010, then sold his properties before filing his 2014 election affidavit, and then proceeded to repurchase the same properties in December 2014 at a much-inflated price that now appears in his 2019 election affidavit.
It is also possible that the payment made for these properties were reflected as ‘advance for purchase of property’. In the 2014 affidavit, there is a Rs. 6.89 crore advance that has been divulged by Rahul Gandhi. But if the payment was made for the properties, it begs the question why Rahul Gandhi added it as an advance and not an asset where he mentions specific properties as he does for his farmhouse that he co-owns with his sister Priyanka Gandhi. Was there an effort to hide the asset considering in 2019, it is declared that the purchase was made in December 2014?
The second and more likely scenario is that Rahul Gandhi did not disclose all assets in the 2014 election affidavit.
If the property was purchased in 2010, regardless of whether the entire amount was paid at the time or not, the properties should have been listed in his 2014 affidavit. That it was not, and it wouldn’t make sense for him to sell his property and months later, purchase his properties in December 2014, raises suspicion that Rahul Gandhi was not being truthful in his 2014 affidavit. Also, for it to be listed as an advance for purchase of property raises suspicion that Rahul Gandhi wanted to hide the fact that he has indeed purchased the property from 2G scam accused Unitech.
The reason of lying, if he did, would perhaps be that he was well aware that the properties were being purchased from Unitech, who were accused in the 2G scam which was perpetrated and was being investigated by his own Congress government and wanted to hide this misadventure from the public eye.
If he lied then, he is lying now too
If we assume that scenario 2 is more likely and that Rahul Gandhi perhaps lied in his 2014 election affidavit, it stands to reason that Rahul Gandhi is lying in his 2019 affidavit as well.
If we accept that Rahul Gandhi lied in his 2014 election affidavit and he did indeed purchase the 2 Unitech properties in October 2010 and failed to add it in his 2014 affidavit, then, his declaration in his 2019 election affidavit that these properties were purchased in December 2014 is also not true.
Lying or misrepresenting facts in an election affidavit is a serious offence that can get the candidate disqualified.
With these damning facts coming to the fore, one can only hope that a full and thorough inquiry is launched by the Election Commission of India into the discrepancies in the 2019 and 2014 election affidavits of Rahul Gandhi.