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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Country-Made Howitzer

Another Bofors moment for the Congress? You could well say so.

Country-Made Howitzer
PTI
Country-Made Howitzer
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The key question in l’affaire Vadra is similar to the key question in l’affaire Bofors. “What services did A.E. Services provide for Ottavio Quattrocchi to swing the deal in favour of Bofors?” Chitra Subramaniam Duella, whose reports from Geneva in The Hindu had exposed the payment of kickbacks, had asked then. It’s a question she still asks. Reframing it for Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, whose alleged acquisitions through unsecured loans from realty giant DLF have been exposed by anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal, she puts it thus: “What services has Vadra rendered to become a millionaire overnight?” As for the denials—from Vadra, DLF, many Union ministers and Congress functionaries—she says, “Then, as now, when denials are disproportionate to the allegations, they raise suspicion.”

There always have been whispers of what powered the rise and rise of Vadra, who is married to Sonia’s daughter Priyanka and is sometimes referred to as the country’s premier son-in-law, or, as in a recent SMS joke, the FDI—‘First Damaad (son-in-law) of India’. At times, there would be some talk in the newsrooms. Nothing solid came of that. But Kejriwal—stuck though he is in a plan for starting a new political party—came out with company names and figures, underlining his allegations with accounting skills acquired as a former IRS officer who served in the Income-Tax department.

Kejriwal and his comrade-in-arms, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, did away with the ‘courtesies’ political parties have often extended to each other when exposes of corruption happen. For instance, when questions were raised over Ranjan Bhattacharya, foster son-in-law of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, wielding influence at the...

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