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Who owned the painting which Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sold to Rana Kapoor? Congress, Rajiv Gandhi or was it public property

Did MF Hussain give the painting to Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister of India, President of Congress party or in his individual capacity?

After being slammed for an alleged nexus between the scam-tainted former MD of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor and Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress party on Sunday acknowledged and released the details of the sale of the painting to Kapoor by Priyanka Gandhi. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Sunday revealed that the painting sold by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was given to Rajiv Gandhi by painter M F Hussain.

The painting was reportedly given to him by the painter in 1985 during the centenary celebration of Congress. This has raised a few questions. If the painting was given to Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, when he was the Prime Minister of India, was it given to the chair he held? If the painting was given to Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister, the painting would be public property and it Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will not really be in a position to decide its sale.

If the painting was given to Rajiv Gandhi in his personal capacity and if Rajiv Gandhi died without a will, the same will be divided between the legal heirs, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka herself. If the painting was owned by Congress, since Rajiv Gandhi was INC President in 1985, it becomes property of Congress and Priyanka Gandhi will not be able to sell it unless she is given the power of attorney by the party.

Earlier, the Income Tax Department had kicked up a storm after it revealed a possibility of an alleged connection between Congress stalwart Priyanka Gandhi and former Managing Director of Yes Bank Rana Kapoor. According to the report, Priyanka Gandhi sold a painting for a whopping Rs 2 crores to Kapoor, raising suspicions over Gandhis’ involvement in the Yes Bank Scam.

Congress and BJP locked horns over the Yes Bank crisis with the ruling party leader Amit Malviya casting aspersions on Gandhi over their purported involvement in the Yes Bank crisis.

Malviya posted a tweet alleging that Gandhis are inextricably linked with every financial crime in India. He tweeted, “Every financial crime in India has a deep link with the Gandhis. Mallya used to send flight upgrade tickets to Sonia Gandhi. Had access to MMS (then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) and PC (P Chidambaram). Is absconding. Rahul inaugurated Nirav Modi’s bridal jewellery collection, he defaulted. Rana bought Priyanka Vadra’s paintings….”

Responding to the allegations levelled by Malviya, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Sunday claimed that the painting sold by Priyanka Gandhi to Rana Kapoor was actually a portrait gifted to the former PM father Rajiv Gandhi by MF Hussain. However, according to the Times Now report, the painting sold by Priyanka Gandhi to Kapoor originally belonged to the Congress party and was gifted to Rajiv Gandhi by MF Hussain on the centenary year of the Congress party in 1985.

Times Now has also accessed a letter dated June 2010 by Priyanka Gandhi in which she acknowledged the purchase of the painting given by MF Hussain to Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. Congress leader Milind Deora facilitated the art sale, addressing him as ‘Rana Uncle’ to contact Vadra to initiate the purchase. As per the Times Now report, the money for the painting was given to Priyanka Gandhi’s office.

Following the revelation, Gandhi is now accused of expropriating a souvenir granted to the Congress party and accruing financial dividends from unilaterally presiding over the sale of the artwork officially belonging to the Congress party. It is still unclear under what capacity did Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sell this painting to Rana Kapoor.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor under money laundering charges in the wee hours of Sunday. The banker was held under the provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) around 3 AM after he did not cooperate with the officials.

Rana was questioned by the ED sleuths for over 30 hours after the central agency raided his residence on Friday night. He will be produced before a local court during the day to obtain custody, the officials said.

Yes Bank is in the midst of a crisis as it accumulated a torrent of bad loans in 2018 by lending to corporate defaulters such as DHFL, Jet Airways and Cafe Coffee day and other. The bank was put on a moratorium by RBI for a period of 30 days, capping its withdrawals at Rs 50,000. The Reserve Bank of India has also announced ‘Yes Bank Ltd. Reconstruction Scheme, 2020’, changing the authorised capital to Rs 5000 crores and 2400 equity shares standing at Rs 10 each. In addition, SBI which leads the consortium of banks investing in the ‘reconstructed bank’ will not reduce its holding below 26% before the completion of three years.

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