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Robert Vadra underreported his income from benami landholdings to the tune of Rs 106 crore in 11 years: Report

According to a report by The Indian Express, nearly half of the Rs 106 crore income that the department claims Vadra hid, allegedly came from just two years – Rs 20 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 28 crore in 2019-20.

Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and husband of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi has allegedly underreported his income from benami landholdings in Rajasthan to the tune of Rs 106 crore in past 11 years. A report by The Indian Express has stated that the Income Tax Department has decided to add this amount to his income during the assessment years 2010-11 to 2020-21.

The report further states that the IT department has also proposed to add approximately Rs 9 crore to M/S Artex, Skylight Hospitality, Skylight Realty, Bluebreeze Trading, Lambodar Arts, North India IT Parks and Real Earth, companies owned by Vadra which would be spread over the AY 2010-11 to 2015-16. The report states that the underreporting of income was uncovered during the course of its investigation for alleged tax evasion in Rajasthan land deals under the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act.

As per the report, in December 2021, the department also informed the Enforcement Directorate of its findings regarding the underreporting of Vadra’s income (Rs 106 crore) and his seven companies worth Rs 9 crore approximately.

Suman Khaitan, Vadra’s lawyer, did not respond to an email containing a series of questions. Vadra, when contacted by Indian Express said, “Same reasons as last many years… the timing seems apt, to bring out my name. A clear malicious Political witch-hunt!! My legal team as you’ve addressed them already… can answer clearly.”

According to sources, Vadra and his companies will be able to challenge the I-T department’s findings on alleged income under-reporting.

Income tax evasion is punishable by a penalty of 50 per cent of the tax due under Section 270A of the Income Tax Act of 1961. If the under-reporting is attributable to misreporting, the penalty will be 200 per cent of the tax owed.

I-T dept said Vadra used Benami

The I-T department searched multiple premises in the possession of former Congress MLA Lalit Nagar and his brother Mahesh Nagar, a former aide of Vadra, in 2020 and claimed to have found evidence of a money trail that traced sizeable land transactions in Rajasthan by Nagar’s associates back to Vadra and his companies. Previously, the Enforcement Directorate and the I-T Department searched the Nagar brothers’ homes in April 2017 and October 2019, respectively.

The I-T department claims that Vadra used benami names to buy land in Bikaner and Jodhpur with the help of Mahesh Nagar in anticipation of the National Solar Mission, tax benefits offered by the state government, and subsequent appreciation in land value.

According to the department, the people whose names were used to purchase the land were either unaware of the transactions or simply rejected it. Furthermore, according to the tax department, the proceeds of the sale allegedly reached Vadra or Mahesh Nagar, resulting in income under-reporting.

According to the report, the Enforcement Directorate began investigating the Bikaner land deals in 2015 and summoned Nagar for questioning. He moved the court but got no relief, and in December 2016, he was summoned to appear before the agency. The ED has since turned over information about the Bikaner land deals to the IT investigation unit.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) announced in February 2019 that it had attached “assets worth Rs 4.62 crore of M/S Sky Light Hospitality (P) Ltd (now LLP) and others in the Kolayat (Bikaner) land scam case.”

The report stated that nearly half of the Rs 106 crore income that the department claims Vadra hid, allegedly came from just two years – Rs 20 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 28 crore in 2019-20. According to sources, approximately Rs 4 crore is proposed to be added to the income of M/S Artex, a small company of Vadra’s that specialises in jewellery and handicraft exports, in 2015-16, and approximately Rs 1.5 crore to the income of Real Earth Estates in the assessment years 2010-11 and 2012-13.

ED seeks permission from Rajasthan HC for custodial interrogation of Robert Vadra in benami property case

OpIndia reported on January 17, 2021, that the Enforcement Directorate had approached the Rajasthan High Court seeking custodial interrogation of Robert Vadra in a benami property case. It was reported then that the ED had sought the High Court’s permission to question Robert Vadra and his associate Mahesh Nagar in the Bikaner land dealing case in its custody.

As mentioned above, the case relates to purchasing of land by Vadra’s associate Mahesh Nagar on behalf of Skylight Hospitality, a company owned by Vadra. Nagar had power of attorney issued by the company, using which he had done land dealings on behalf of the company. In a sting operation done by Republic TV, Mahesh Nagar had said that Robert Vadra used different fronts and names for his land deals.

ED was also proving a land deal by Vadra’s company in Bikaner, where the land may have been obtained from farmers by looting and duping them. 

Earlier OpIndia had published an exclusive report with documents showing that Mahesh Nagar had signed on purchase documents on behalf of Robert Vadra. He had said that he was getting money from HL Pahwa, who is deeply involved with the Gandhi-Vadra family in land deals.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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