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Robert Vadra led companies bought 41 DLF flats and sold most


NEW DELHI: Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, had bought as many as 41 premium apartments from DLFBSE -0.50 % but subsequently sold most of them at a profit. All the apartments were acquired by companies promoted by him, including Sky Light Hospitality- which had dealings with DLF- by paying a minimum booking amount, with the exception of a luxury pad in the picturesque Aralias, for which he paid the entire sum of Rs 11.9 crore upfront.

Vadra, whose dealings with India's biggest real estatefirm has come under the lens in the past ten days, booked apartments in three premium projects: Aralias and Magnolias in Gurgaon and Capital Greens in Moti Nagar in Delhi. He used a part of the Rs 58-crore advance paid by DLF (for purchasing a 3.5-acre plot from him in Gurgaon) for booking these flats.

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Most of these apartments were bought for the purpose of trading as Vadra sold around 38 of these 41 apartments subsequently, said a DLF executive. A DLF spokesman confirmed Vadra had bought these apartments in the three projects. He also said that the client had later paid around Rs 7 crore as delayed payment charges.

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An email sent to Vadra's personal secretary Manoj Arora seeking his response did not elicit a response.

During 2009 and 2010, Vadra bought 25 apartments in DLF Capital Greens, a premium project constructed on a 38-acre land that DLF acquired from DCM Shriram and the Lohia Group in 2007 for Rs 1,675 crore. While the builder launched the first phase of the project at around Rs 4,500-5,500 per sq ft, the prices subsequently increased to Rs 10,000 per sq ft. Vadra brought these apartments in the first phase and sold them in 2010-11.

He also booked 15 apartments in DLF Magnolias, a premium project next to a company-owned golf course on the Gurgaon Golf Course road that is nearing completion. Of these, he has already sold 13 apartments and still retains two units.

"These kinds of dealings are not uncommon in the real estate industry. These are people who book huge number of apartments and then sell them when the prices go up. Vadra was only one of them, and certainly not the biggest," said an industry source. A real estate consultant who declined to be named said more than 75% real estate bought in the national capital region is for investment and trading purposes, with Gurgaon being a particular favourite of high-networth investors.

An investor recently booked 50 apartments in the Noida Extension region, in the hope that prices will soar soon. Some of these investors are well organised and call themselves underwriters. These moneyed investors are often blamed for the high prices of homes in the country, especially in the NCR region, as they often strike bulk deals at good bargains when projects are launched, denying genuine homebuyers the opportunity to buy. These investors hold on to their huge inventory and sell it at a higher price.

Activist -turned politician Arvind Kejriwal has called for a probe into the dealings between DLF and Vadra. He had alleged that DLF gave an interest-free unsecured loan of Rs 65 crore to Vadra and these funds were, in turn, used to buy real estate assets from the company, including apartments in Gurgaon at vastly discounted prices as well as a 50% stake in a DLF hotel in South Delhi.

DLF has denied any wrongdoing and said its dealings with Vadra were clean. It said it gave an advance, and not an unsecured loan, for buying a 3.5 acre plot, which is a standard practice in the real estate industry. It says all its transactions with Vadra were at market rates. The government has refused to take up the issue suo moto.