Vacillation over Vadra

The interrogation of high-profile realtor Robert Vadra – husband of Priyanka Gandhi — is currently under way by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi on allegations of money laundering and benami real estate deals in the UK. If the ED is trying to get at the truth, that too after a court directive now, it will be well-appreciated. But, there are also those who see the hand of the Modi government to possibly embarrass the Nehru-Gandhi family at a time when the nation is at the doorstep of another Parliamentary poll. At a time when the credibility of various government institutions are touching a new low, even well-intentioned actions on the part of officials could be interpreted in different ways and motives attached. There, overall, is a crisis of confidence.

The allegations against Robert Vadra and his real estate firms started gaining currency after the UPA-II government remote-controlled by Sonia Gandhi was voted out and the Narendra Modi-led NDA government took charge. Even during the UPA period, there were hush-hush talks about alleged usurpations of land in various states at the behest of Vadra and his firm by using government influence. A major allegation was that the Hooda-led Congress government in Haryana at that time went out of the way to give prime government land in various urban areas to Vadra’s firm for a song. After Modi came to power, it was expected that these matters would be fairly investigated and guilt fixed on those who did any wrong. Nothing much has happened in this direction. It could either be that Modi didn’t have the courage to take on the high-profile Nehru family, or that he vacillated in the matter, or that there was no truth, or at least no proof of wrong-doing vis-a-vis the allegations. Some related cases are pending in courts, which might take ages to be disposed.

Now, those around Vadra are sure to project this as a witch-hunt. The fact that Priyanka Gandhi dropped Vadra at the ED office on her way to take charge as AICC general secretary on Wednesday, and picked him from the ED office after interrogation too, is hint of the way this issue could now be turned into another political weapon to attack Modi and the BJP in the coming hustings. Questions as to what Modi did in this respect all through his term would require clear answers. Likely, as in the Saradha case, the CBI and the government as a whole vacillated over serious issues for too long. This is not governance.