The Untouchables

According to the current Who’s Who, who is the fastest billionaire? If you are thinking of Mr. Bill Gates, then you are mistaken. The fastest billionaire is Robert Vadra, worth $ 2.1 billion. Robert Vadra, the impressive son-in-law of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. Robert Vadra used to be a low profile personality, coming from an upper middle class background with his family roots in Pakistan. He originates from a family whose main business was dealing with brass-ware and wood crafts.

However, the smartest move made by Vadra in his entire life was getting married to Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Sonia Gandhi, the de facto ruler of the “Gandhi Dynasty,” that has been practically ruling India since Independence. This marital tie with the most powerful political family of India ensured him a VVIP status that includes not being frisked at any of the domestic airports in India. Exactly when Vadra started his nefarious activities is unknown but what dragged him into the limelight was the “little scam” that he arranged with the real estate corporate DLF.

Anti-corruption crusader Mr. Arvind Kejriwal along with his associates brought the serious allegation against Vadra that he had purchased properties in and around Delhi worth more than Rs. 300 crores for a song, between 2007 and 2010. The money has come from DLF Ltd in the form of “unsecured interest free loans”. Kejriwal also suggested that this money was acquired by Vadra as a loan to one of his companies floated with a capital of a mere Rs. 50 Lakhs, with Vadra and his mother Mrs. Maureen Vadra as partners.

Reactions of Congress to such allegations were quite predictable. According to Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari the allegations were “baseless, misconceived and utterly irresponsible”. Keeping in mind that such an issue might turn out to be a nightmare for the upcoming elections he further added that “coming ahead of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, it shows that the so-called civil society groups are morphing as a political party but it is nothing more than a B-Team of the BJP”. DLF also came to Vadra’s rescue when a DLF spokesman declared the dealings with Vadra to be “completely transparent” and was conducted “to the highest standard of ethics”. Kejriwal sticks to his claim that Vadra has amassed a fortune of Rs. 300 crores from 2007 to 2010.

Chief opposition party BJP’s demand for a probe also ended in a cul de sac, when the senior IAS officer and the then Director General, Consolidation of Holdings Mr. Ashok Khemka was transferred within four days after the submission of his final reports of the probe which included a cancellation of mutation of land deals between Vadra and DLF. Finally, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office gave a clean chit to Robert Vadra, terming the allegations against Vadra to be “false, vexations and based on hearsay”.

It is evident that the corruption crusader Kejriwal’s Excalibur failed to even dent Robert Vadra’s armor. India is said to be a land of “unity in diversity.” One of the main unification factors are of course all politicians, especially those in charge of ministries, are corrupt or on their way to corruption. And if a politician can chair a ministry for at least one term of five years, rest assured he will amass enough dough to afford an account in a private bank in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland. People like Robert Vadra are small fish compared to them. Ever seen a minister go down for felony, corruption or bribery? Well, Lalu Prasad Yadav? An exception that proves the thumb rule that politicians are the real “untouchables” in this “banana republic of mango people”. When will the mass and the judicial system of India decide to bring them down and make them “touchable”?