Three years on, DLF finds its Vadra plot
Nearly three years after realty major DLF cited industry practice to give UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra a R50 crore interest-free advance for a 3.5 acre plot in Manesar in Haryana, the company has finally got unencumbered possession of the land. The land was 'conveyanced' in the name of the real estate firm last month, and DLF has now paid Vadra the balance R8 crore.
While DLF has not been able to cite other instances of where interest-free advances have been given, and over such long periods of time, a perusal of the books of various Vadra firms shows he used the advance to make other investments, including in several DLF properties. Interestingly, DLF officials who first said the company had got the plot in 2008-09, the year in which it gave Vadra the advance, now argue the firm saved money by not getting the property from Vadra earlier.
" … DLF agreed to buy the said plot, given its licensing status and its attractiveness as a business proposition for a total consideration of Rs 58 crore. As per normal commercial practice, the possession of the said plot was taken over by DLF in FY09 itself and a total sum of R50 crore given as advance in instalments against the purchase consideration. After receipt of all requisite approvals, the said property was conveyanced in favour of DLF," the company's statement issued on October 6 said.
The delay in getting the land registered has surprised experts who track the sector and have audited the account books of real estate firms. "Normally, conveyancing of land gets done very quickly, especially for big developers. However, if one legally challenges the delay, both sides can cite several reasons for it," experts FE spoke to said.
DLF sources say the delay in getting the land registered in its name was deliberate since the market at that time was going through a slowdown. "Had we got the land conveynanced in our name during 2008-09 we would have to pay the balance R8 crore to Vadra immediately, plus another around R4 crore towards registration charges," DLF officials told FE.
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