Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on Wednesday accused Rahul Gandhi of tax evasion in land purchase in a village in Palwal district, a charge rejected by him as "entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory".
At a press conference in Jalandhar, the Indian National Lok Dal chief demanded that the matter be investigated by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
"Rahul Gandhi purchased a piece of land measuring around 6.5 acre in Hasanpur village in Palwal district of Haryana in March 2008. He resorted to tax evasion in it. Rahul bought this land at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre as mentioned in the land registration deed even as its valuation by the government at that time was Rs 8 lakh per acre," Chautala told a press conference.
He said the government value of the land given to Gandhi at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre was Rs 8 lakh per acre while its market value was much more at Rs 35 lakh per acre.
In a point by point rebuttal, Gandhi's office said in Delhi that he had purchased 51 Kanal 13 Marla ( 6.456 acres) of Sailab Land in Hassanpur Village, Tehsil Hodal, District Palwal in Haryana.
"The land was purchased for a total purchase price of Rs 26.47 lakh paid for by cheque, which is the equivalent of Rs 4.10 lakh per acre.
"The prevailing Collector Rate for Sailab Land in Hassanpur Village, Tehsil Hodal for 2007-08 and as of March 3 2008, the date of purchase was Rs 1.5 lakh per acre.
"Gandhi paid stamp duty of six percent amounting to Rs 01 lakh 58 thousand 820 on the purchase price of Rs 26.47 lakh at a rate of Rs 4 lakh 10 thousand six per acre (i.e. at over 2.7x the prevailing Collector Rate)," a release by the office of the Congress leader said.
The release said that allegations made by Chautala against Gandhi at his press conference in Jalandhar are entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory.
Chautala also claimed that Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's "benevolence" has helped Robert Vadra purchase properties worth several crores allegedly at "throw away prices" and demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
"The manner in which Ashok Khemka-Director General, Consolidation of Holdings, Land Recors, has been transferred itself reflects the large scale irregularities in the property purchase process", Chautala said.
"Khemka had asked the deputy commissioners of Palwar, Mewat, Gurgaon, Jhajjar and Faridabad to submit the report on all the alleged land deals by October 25, but he was transferred", he said.
Chautala further said "the CM in his effort to please party chief Sonia Gandhi has caused a heavy dent to the state exchequer.
Sources close to Gandhi said that there is nothing new in whatever has been pointed out by Chautala and it is already in public domain.
They said that Gandhi had also declared these assets in his election affidavit for 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
"There has been complete transparency in the disclosures made by Gandhi and there is no new information," the sources said.