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The house from where Vadra's realty magic was spun

By Kavita Chowdhury & Gyan Verma
October 07, 2012 21:29 IST
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The first floor of 268, Sukhdev Vihar, a nondescript white and grey bungalow, houses the headquarters of at least three companies/businesses owned by Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Vadra, who had been renting the premises for seven-odd years, has recently bought the property.

North India IT Parks, Real Earth Estates, Skylight Hospitality, the three companies headquartered in the first floor, together have paid-up capital of Rs 45 lakh. In the last four years, these companies have bought real estate worth Rs 300 crore, according to allegations made by anti-corruption activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan on Friday.

J S Walia, whose nameplate still adorns the front gate of the bungalow, dabbles in real estate. Having sold the property to Vadra, he would soon move out. As Vadras's Special Protection Group cover and security cavalcade that accompanied him on his frequent visits here needed more space, a separate entrance was created for his office. Swanky marble stairs lead to the first floor, which sports no nameplates or boards of the three companies, worth hundreds of crores.

The peeling paint outside and the stray dog at the entrance to the building are a stark contrast to the slick glass interiors of the first floor. Delhi Police security officers manning the entrance are tight-lipped about the proceedings in the office. Business Standard's attempts to speak to any representative from the office were repeatedly stonewalled. Vadra appears to run a tight ship.

Savitri Devi, a neighbour at the adjoining house 266, says, "Earlier, Robert Vadra had an artificial jewellery business. Only recently did he buy the place from Waliaji. We get to know whenever he's around because of the massive security that escorts him."

The only other signatory and director of Vadra's three companies is his mother, Maureen Vadra, who stays at 162 A block, New Friends Colony, a prominent, brick-coloured house in that locality. "Priyanka Gandhi ki saas ka ghar (Priyanka Gandhi's mother-in-law's house)," is how the local dhobi describes it. Everyone in the locality, including security guards, knows Maureen Vadra has been a resident here for long. Delhi Police personnel guarding the building say Maureen Vadra left early in the morning, adding they weren't sure of when she would return.

Maureen Vadra is ostensibly very close to her grandchildren (Vadra's son and daughter), who visit her at least twice a week. All efforts to contact the Vadra family failed.

When contacted, Manoj, Robert Vadra's personal secretary, said, "Whatever Mr Vadra had to say he has said one-and a-half-year ago in response to another news article. There is nothing more to add."

Even as the Vadras remain mum on the storm over their escalating assets, everyone, including security officers manning their gates, is avidly scouring newspaper pages for the latest scoop on Robert Vadra.

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Kavita Chowdhury & Gyan Verma
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