The Rana Kapoor-Priyanka Gandhi Vadra painting row seems to be getting murkier and murkier as more details emerge in the ongoing investigation. Sources have revealed that a letter dated 1st May, 2010 has emerged written by senior Congress leader Milind Deora, the then Member of Parliament, to Yes Bank chief Rana Kapoor, suggesting he buys the Rajiv Gandhi painting in Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s possession.
In the letter, he mentions that the painting which Kapoor is desirous of purchasing and for the same he should get in touch with Priyanka Gandhi as she and her family members would be willing to sell the painting ‘if buyer will keep it safely with the respect it deserves’.
Following this, on 8th May, Deora again wrote to Kapoor urgently seeking time to speak to him. A copy of his email is with OpIndia. This is followed by a series of text messages sent between 8th May 2010 to 12th May 2010, Deora kept following up with Kapoor. On 20th May 2010, Deora messaged Kapoor that he needs a time frame for when the cheque (for the purchased painting) will be given. “Even if it will take some more time pls give me a date as they are asking me. I only fear that they should not lose interest,” he messaged Kapoor on 20th May 2010.
Same day, he texted again that he has been trying to reach Kapoor since long as even if the payment for painting sale will take time, he needed to convey it to Delhi. “Am afraid that further delays in communicating the date to Delhi will give them the impression that yes bank is not serious,” Deora seems to be hard-selling the painting to Kapoor for Yes Bank. Deora further clarifies that Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra would write a letter to Yes Bank about sale of painting as soon as cheque is received and not prior to that.
As per sources, on 21st May 2010, Deora wrote to Rana Kapoor, addressing him as ‘Rana Uncle’ and said that ‘PG’ (Priyanka Gandhi) will write a letter to Kapoor on the following Monday that she has agreed to sell the painting to him and that she has authorised Deora to negotiate the deal on her behalf. He then allegedly instructed Kapoor that after he receives the letter, he should write to Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and confirm that he and Deora have agreed on Rs 2 crore for the price of painting and send the cheque along with it.
Deora continues to follow up with Kapoor on 27th May 2010 asking him to get in touch with himself and his father, veteran Congress leader Murli Deora. On 29th May 2010 he says he received the letter Kapoor sent and forwarded it to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. “A meeting with her or her family wont be possible now but I’ll try and arrange it sometime later. Her mother and she want the cheque by early next week itself,” he texts. Deora mentions that even his father was informed about the deal by the Gandhis and he has been trying to get in touch with Kapoor unsuccessfully.
Deora then allegedly mentioned disappointment on how the deal took this long to complete. On 2nd June 2010, after having lost the patience, Deora puts the ultimatum and asks when he could collect the same. “I have been assuring them week after week that its happening and they’ve lost patience at this stage. Please trust me and don’t delay at this stage,” Deora reportedly told ‘Rana Uncle’.
On 3rd June 2010, at 11:52 am, he allegedly messaged Kapoor informing him that he has cancelled his flight and will reach his office by 2 PM to collect the cheque.
On 4th June 2010, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote a letter to Rana Kapoor, at Bungalow No 1, Grand Paradi address in Mumbai. (Note, it is home address from 2010, not addressed to Yes Bank CEO) wherein she mentions she is selling the M F Hussain painting of her father gifted to him by the painter in 1985 on the centenary celebrations of the Congress.
However, it is not yet clear on what capacity did Rajiv Gandhi receive this painting in 1985. Was it gifted to the Prime Minister of India, President of Congress party or in his individual capacity. 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.
Yes Bank controversy
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.
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.