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Now Sonia’ son-in-law in the soup

 | October 12, 2012

What makes Robert Vadra exceptional is that he is astoundingly, indisputably dumb.

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India can rightfully claim to be the corruption capital.

No week passes without some skeleton of scandal stumbling out of the storeroom. Often these bony horrors are pulled out by the media or social activists.

The latest sleaze is all about Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra. Married to Priyanka Gandhi, he now finds himself getting deeper into a web allegedly spun by the real estate developer, DLF.

Of course, Vadra must have walked into it with eyes fully open, for the deal or deals helped him as well to build assets worth hundreds of crores of rupees.

Anti-corruption crusader and newbie politician Arvind Kejriwal has revealed enough evidence that points to political influence and favouritism benefiting both Vadra and the DLF.

Although the DLF has been screaming its rebuttals and Vadra himself desperately doling out clarifications, it appears that there has been an unhealthy relationship between the company and the member of India’s most powerful political family, the Gandhis.

Documents purportedly reveal how Vadra rose from a small-time brassware exporter to a big real estate operator through business deals that helped the DLF secure land on favourable terms and the scion of the political family make his money.

In short, Vadra’s political connection and clout reportedly opened the doors for the DLF. In return, the firm is said to have given Vadra interest-free loans and real estate at huge discounts. Vadra’s fortunes touched the sky.

A cornered Vadra bawled like a child whose toy has been taken away. He called Kejriwal and his team “Mangoes in a Banana Republic” on Facebook. (And, a little later closed his account.)

Now, this was seen as sacrilege by many. The common man was offended, and most citizens hated the fact that a member of the Gandhi family had described India as a Banana Republic.

Lack of intelligence

Twitter bugs went on an overdrive. One of them said with sarcasm dripping, “Sonia Gandhi was very embarrassed on hearing Robert Vadra is worth Rs 300 crores. In political terms, that is below the poverty line.” Another Twitter decried how it took India’s first business family, Tatas, a hundred years to become billionaires.

But the senior editor of Firstpost, Lakshmi Chaudry, had the sharpest arrow to dart at Vadra.

“We will never solve the mystery behind the miracle that is Robert Vadra. But his saving virtue for the Gandhi family is clear: He makes his brother-in-law [Rahul Gandhi] look like Albert Einstein.”

In her article, she had also gone on to wonder how Priyanka could have married Vadra.

“Now, the Gandhis have typically married down: Feroze [Indira Gandhi’s husband) was a no-name backbencher, Maneka [Indira’s other daughter-in-law – the first being Sonia – who married Sanjay) a beauty pageant type, and Sonia will perennially remain “that Italian waitress” to her detractors.

So a petty trader from Moradabad (Vadra) isn’t exactly unprecedented. What makes Robert Vadra exceptional is that he is astoundingly, indisputably dumb.

While neither the Gandhis nor their spouses have been towering intellectuals, none of them have come remotely close to matching Vadra’s lack of intelligence.

Mr Robert Vadra must be the most hated man in India today.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic, and can be contacted at[email protected]. He is an FMT columnist.


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