Against Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Lawyer, Robert Mueller Didn’t Know Extent Of Allegations

“I made these misstatements out of loyalty to Individual 1,” Michael Cohen said referring to Donald Trump

When a BuzzFeed reporter first sought comment on the news outlet’s explosive report that President Donald Trump had directed his lawyer to lie to Congress, the spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller III treated the request as he would almost any other story.

The reporter informed Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, that he and a colleague had “a story coming stating that Michael Cohen was directed by President Trump himself to lie to Congress about his negotiations related to the Trump Moscow project,” according to copies of their emails provided by a BuzzFeed spokesman. Importantly, the reporter made no reference to the special counsel’s office specifically or evidence that Mueller’s investigators had uncovered.

“We’ll decline to comment,” Carr responded, a familiar refrain for those in the media who cover Mueller’s work.

The innocuous exchange belied the chaos it would produce. When BuzzFeed published the story hours later, it far exceeded Carr’s initial impression, people familiar with the matter said, in that the reporting alleged that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-described fixer, “told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie,” and that Mueller’s office learned of the directive “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”

In the view of the special counsel’s office, that was wrong, two people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. And with Democrats raising the specter of investigation and impeachment, Mueller’s team started discussing a step they had never before taken: publicly disputing reporting on evidence in their ongoing investigation.

Within 24 hours of the story’s publication, the special counsel’s office issued a statement doing just that. Trump, who has called the media the “enemy of the people,” on Saturday pointed to the special counsel’s assertion as evidence of what he sees as journalists’ bias against him.

“I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism, and I think also that the coverage by the mainstream media was disgraceful, and I think it’s going to take a long time for the mainstream media to recover its credibility,” Trump said Saturday. “It’s lost tremendous credibility. And believe me, that hurts me when I see that.”

BuzzFeed has stood by its reporting.

“As we’ve reconfirmed our reporting, we’ve seen no indication that any specific aspect of our story is inaccurate. We remain confident in what we’ve reported, and will share more as we are able,” Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for the news outlet, said Saturday.

People familiar with the matter said Carr told others in the government that he would have more vigorously discouraged the reporters from proceeding with the story had he known it would allege Cohen had told the special counsel Trump directed him to lie – or that the special counsel was said to have learned this through interviews with Trump Organization witnesses, as well as internal company emails and text messages.

Carr declined to comment for this story beyond the special counsel’s office statement issued Friday.

After Carr declined to comment to BuzzFeed, but before the story was published, he sent reporter Jason Leopold a partial transcript of Cohen’s plea hearing, in which Cohen admitted lying to Congress about the timing of discussions related to a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow, according to the emails BuzzFeed’s spokesman provided. Cohen had claimed falsely that the company’s effort to build the tower ended in January 2016, when in fact discussions continued through June of that year, as Trump was clinching the Republican nomination for president.

“I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1,” Cohen said at his plea hearing late last year, using the term “Individual 1” to refer to Trump.


Peter Carr, Robert Mueller’s spokesman, people familiar with the matter said, hoped Jason Leopold, reporter for BuzzFeed, would notice that Michael Cohen had not said during the hearing that Donald Trump had explicitly directed him to lie (File Photo)

Carr, people familiar with the matter said, hoped Leopold would notice that Cohen had not said during the hearing that Trump had explicitly directed him to lie. But Leopold, who co-authored the story with reporter Anthony Cormier, told the spokesman he was not taking any signals, and Carr acknowledged the point.

“I am not reading into what you sent and have interpreted it as an FYI,” Leopold wrote.

“Correct, just an FYI,” Carr responded.

A person inside the Trump Organization said a BuzzFeed reporter also talked with a lawyer for the organization hours before the story posted and was warned that the story was flawed and should be scrutinized further. Mittenthal said, “We trust our sources over the organization still run by Donald Trump’s family. That organization is directly implicated in the allegations related to the Trump Tower Moscow project, and refused to speak on the record for our story.”

The language Cohen and his representatives used in court had been ambiguous. Cohen had pleaded guilty in two cases – one for lying to Congress about the Moscow project, and another involving campaign finance violations for hush-money payments to women who had alleged affairs with Trump.

While neither Cohen nor his representatives had ever said explicitly that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress, Guy Petrillo, Cohen’s attorney, wrote in a memo in advance of his sentencing, “We address the campaign finance and false statements allegations together because both arose from Michael’s fierce loyalty to Client-1. In each case, the conduct was intended to benefit Client-1, in accordance with Client-1’s directives.”

Client-1 refers to Trump. Petrillo declined to comment Saturday. It is unclear precisely what “directives” Petrillo was referring to, though he did not allege elsewhere in the memo that Trump explicitly instructed Cohen to lie to Congress. He wrote that Cohen was “in close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel to Client-1” as he prepared his testimony and “specifically knew . . . that Client-1 and his public spokespersons were seeking to portray contact with Russian representatives in any form by Client-1, the Campaign or the Trump Organization as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016.”

People familiar with the matter said after BuzzFeed published its story – which was attributed to “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter” – the special counsel’s office reviewed evidence to determine if there were any documents or witness interviews like those described, reaching out to those they thought might have a stake in the case.

They found none, these people said. That, the people said, is in part why it took Mueller’s office nearly a day to dispute the story publicly. In the interim, cable news outlets and other media organizations, including The Washington Post, dissected its possible implications – even as their reporters were unable to independently confirm it.

Told of the special counsel’s failure to find support for the story, Mittenthal, the BuzzFeed spokesman, said, “Our high-level law enforcement sources, who have helped corroborate months of accurate reporting on the Trump Tower Moscow deal and its aftermath, have told us otherwise. We look forward to further clarification from the Special Counsel in the near future.”

Two people familiar with the matter said lawyers at the special counsel’s office discussed the statement internally, rather than conferring with Justice Department leaders, for much of the day. In the advanced stages of those talks, the deputy attorney general’s office called to inquire if the special counsel planned any kind of response, and was informed a statement was being prepared, the people said.

Around 7:30 p.m. Friday, Carr distributed it to numerous media outlets via email.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” he wrote.

People familiar with the matter said the special counsel’s office meant the statement to be a denial of the central theses of the BuzzFeed story – particularly those that referenced what Cohen had told the special counsel, and what evidence the special counsel had gathered.

BuzzFeed, though, asserted that the language was not specific about what was being contested.

“We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he’s disputing,” BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith said in response to the special counsel’s statement.

Cohen has not addressed BuzzFeed’s reporting, and BuzzFeed has made clear he was not a source for its story. Lanny Davis, a legal and communications adviser to Cohen, said before the special counsel statement was issued, “Out of respect for Mr. Mueller’s and the Office of Special Counsel’s investigation, Mr. Cohen declined to respond to the questions asked by the reporters and so do I.” He declined to address it after the special counsel’s office released the statement.

Cohen declined to comment Saturday.

– – –

The Washington Post’s Shane Harris and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Interim Protection From Arrest To Robert Vadra’s Aide Manoj Arora Till February 6

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor sought two more weeks for arguments on the application

New Delhi: 

A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe.

“He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court.

Mr Rana said it remained to be seen if Manoj Arora would cooperate further.

The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

In the last hearing, Mr Arora had alleged before the court that the case was foisted on him by the NDA government out of “political vendetta”.

However, the ED refuted the allegations, asking that “should no authority investigate any political bigwig because that will be called a political vendetta?”

The agency had told the court that it lodged the money laundering case against Mr Arora after his role came up during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the newly-enacted Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

It said the London-based property was bought by Bhandari for GBP 1.9 million and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses of approximately GBP 65,900 on its renovation.

“This gives credence to the fact that Bhandari was not the actual owner of the property but it was beneficially owned by Vadra who was incurring expenditure on the renovation of this property,” the ED had told court.

Mr Arora, an employee of Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality LLP, was a key person in the case and he was aware of the latter”s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds, it had said.

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Fresh Money Laundering Case Against Firm Linked To Robert Vadra, Others

The new charges were based on an FIR filed by Haryana Police in September last year

New Delhi: 

In fresh trouble for Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, the Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering case against a firm allegedly linked to him and a few others in connection with suspected financial and other irregularities in land deals in Haryana’s Gurgaon in 2008, officials said Monday.

They said the central probe agency has filed a criminal FIR, known as enforcement case information report in official parlance, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The fresh case follows searches conducted by the ED in December last year on three people linked to Mr Vadra.

The searches were conducted in connection with its probe into alleged “commissions received by some suspects in defence deals” and illegal assets stashed abroad.

The new charges were based on an FIR filed by Haryana Police in September last year, they said.

According to the Haryana Police FIR, Skylight Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., a firm allegedly linked to Mr Vadra, purchased 3.5 acres of land in Gurgaon’s Sector 83 from Onkareshwar Properties for Rs 7.50 crore in 2008 when Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress was the chief minister and also held the portfolio of the Town and County Planning Department.

Later, Skylight Hospitality sold this land to realty major DLF at a price of Rs 58 crore, after procuring a commercial licence for the development of the colony with the influence of Mr Hooda, the police had alleged.

The company thus made a profit of about Rs 50 crore, an allegation rejected by Mr Vadra in the past.

In return, the state government allotted 350 acres of land to DLF at Wazirabad in Gurgaon in violation of rules, the police had claimed. In the alleged quid pro quo, the realty major made Rs 5,000 crore, it had said.

The ED will probe if such a financial irregularity led to laundering of funds and creation of illegal assets by the accused, they said.

Mr Vadra is already being probed by the ED in connection with two PMLA cases — one related to land deals in Bikaner in Rajasthan and another linked to arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari and illegal acquisition of overseas assets.

It is also probing the role of Mr Hooda in connection with a similar land deal case in Gurgaon’s Manesar area.

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Have Nod For Further Probe Involving Robert Vadra, Bhupinder Hooda: Gurugram Top Cop

The police registered the case against Robert Vadra, Bhupinder Hooda and others on September 1


Gurugram Commissioner of Police K Rao on Friday said the Haryana government has given permission to further investigate the alleged land scam case registered against Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Rao said, “We had sought permission from the state government after the case was registered at a Gurugram police station. The authorities have granted us the permission, so we are investigating the alleged land scam further.”

The police registered the case against Mr Vadra, Mr Hooda and others on September 1 at Kherki Daula police station.

The case was registered on the complaint of Surender Sharma, a resident of Tauru, alleging that a company belonging to Mr Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality had cheated people and the government.

A case was registered under sections of 420 (cheating), 120 (hatching conspiracy) and 467, 468, 471(forgery) under the Indian Penal Code.

After the BJP came to power in Haryana, it set up a one-man commission of Justice SN Dhingra on May 14, 2015, to probe the land scam.

The commission probed the alleged irregularities in the grant of licence by the Haryana Department of Town and Country Planning to some companies, including those of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of then Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in Sector 83 of Gurugram for developing commercial colonies.

Deals were allegedly inked for land in Shikohpur, Sihi, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Badha villages in Gurugram.

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France Jails British Drug Kingpin Robert Dawes For 22 Years For Cocaine Trafficking

Court sketch shows Briton Robert Dawes (L) at Paris courthouse on Friday. (AFP)


A French court on Friday jailed British drug kingpin Robert Dawes for 22 years for large-scale cocaine trafficking at the end of a two-week trial.

Dawes, 46, was convicted of arranging for 1.3 tonnes of cocaine to be smuggled into France on an Air France flight from Venezuela to Paris in 2015.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Acting Like Don, Says Congress After ED Raids Against Robert Vadra

Enforcement Directorate raided an office of Robert Vadra and residences of his associates. (File)

New Delhi: 

Terming the Enforcement Directorate (ED) “raids” on the premises of Robert Vadra-owned Skylight Hospitality as “political vendetta”, the Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of acting like a “don” and “persecuting and hounding everyone opposed to him”.

In a surprise move, the ED raided an office of Robert Vadra — the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi — and the residences of his associates in the national capital region today. Probe teams also searched properties of the businessman’s aides in Bengaluru the same day.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the ED, besides raiding Mr Vadra’s office in the national capital, also carried out searches in residence of his associate, his sister and her in-laws in Noida (Uttar Pradesh), without any search warrant.

“Politics of revenge and malicious vendetta has today reached its nadir. Modi is acting like a don lording over a criminal empire to persecute and hound everyone opposed to him,” Mr Surjewala said.

He said PM Modi is “unnerved” by the “sure shot defeat” in Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Telangana and Chhattisgarh and the raids are aimed at diverting the narrative.

“Modi government in last 54 months has let loose a criminal conspiracy to vilify, denigrate and malign Vadra to settle political scores. As all else failed, Modi government has unleashed all its agencies including ED, CBI and Income Tax to victimize Vadra in an utterly mala fide manner,” alleged Mr Surjewala.

For the latest News & Live Updates on Election Results from each assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for updates.

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F1: Robert Kubica To Return To Formula 1 With Williams Racing

After sustaining a serious accident in 2010, Robert Kubica will be returning to Formula 1 in the driver’s seat with Williams Racing for 2019.

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Robert Kubica will be stepping in place of Sergey Sirotkin at Williams Racing F1 team

Driver Robert Kubica has been confirmed to make his Formula 1  come back next year with the Williams F1 team. The 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner was serving as as the reserve and test driver for Williams through the 2018 season, and now steps into the driver’s seat in place of Sergey Sirotkin, and will be teaming up with George Russell. Kubica’s last race in F1 was the 2010 season finale, after which he suffered severe injuries to his right arm in the Ronde di Andora rally crash in early 2011. The accident had left him with long-term injuries, which hindered his racing opportunities for several years. The return to F1 in 2019 is big news for Kubica, who is now 70 per cent left-handed. He was expected to return to racing last year with Williams, however, the team decided to bring Sirotkin instead.

Speaking about the announcement, Robert Kubica said, “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me during what was a difficult period of my life over these last few years. It has been a challenging journey to make it back to the Formula One grid, but what seemed almost impossible is now beginning to feel possible, as I am excited to be able to say that I will be on the Formula One grid in 2019. For sure, it has been a long road to get to this point, but as that challenge now comes to an end with this announcement, a new challenge begins working with Williams on track. It will not be easy, but with hard work and dedication, both George and myself will work together to try and help the team get in better shape to move further up the grid. This year has been tough, but I have learnt a lot, and I’d like to thank Sir Frank and Claire for this opportunity. Being back on the F1 grid next season will be one of the greatest achievements of my life, and I’m sure with hard work and commitment we will be able to help motivate the team to achieve good things together. Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and believed in me. I will finally be back on the grid behind the wheel of an F1 car, and I cannot wait to get back racing.”

Prior to his accident, Robert had achieved a total of 12 podiums in 76 grand prix starts, and had claimed his maiden F1 pole position and win in the Canadian GP in 2008, finishing fourth in the championship that season. The driver made his F1 debut in 2006 and had registered a podium finish in his first three races, making him one of more promising new drivers at the time.

Kubica returned to competitive racing with rallying in 2016, followed by making a comeback to circuit-racing in the Mugello 12 Hours GT race the same year. He had completed a successful F1 test with Renault in 2016 F1 car before driving the contemporary Renault and Williams cars in Hungary and Abu Dhabi in 2017. Williams says the 33-year-old impressed the team after conducting several tests in 2017 before taking on the role of reserve and development driver for the team through the 2018 season. During this time Robert has spent extensive time working both trackside and at the factory, also having the opportunity to drive the FW41 during official testing and a number of FP1 practice sessions.


It was rumoured that Kubica had an offer from Ferrari to take a development role with the Italian team for 2019, but the Polish driver has decided to choose otherwise. Back in 2012 too, Kubica had a signed pre-contract with Ferrari for the 2012.

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Former Donald Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty In Robert Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States (Reuters)


U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will plead guilty to two criminal counts as part of a deal with prosecutors on Friday, court documents showed in what could be a blow to Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-running probe of Russian election meddling.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller’s probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court. Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a shadow over Trump’s presidency.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort’s cooperation with Mueller’s probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on Nov. 6.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Five other charges were dropped in the new court filing.

A Virginia jury convicted Manafort last month on bank and tax fraud charges.

Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in a second trial on charges including conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

Manafort’s decision could be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

On Twitter on Aug. 22, Trump wrote: “Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal. Such respect for a brave man!”

According to the court filing, the charge of conspiracy against the United States includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and acting as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort’s foreign lobbying.

Manafort’s conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller’s investigation. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians and the Russians have denied interfering.

Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and the campaign’s deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russia probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort’s chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

“It’s not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty. Usually it helps you get a pardon down the road. It shows you’ve admitted your guilt,” he said on Friday before a deal was announced. He declined further comment until after the hearing.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Robert Vadra, Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda Booked in 2008 Land Fraud Case

नई दिल्‍ली: हरियाणा के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री भूपेंद्र सिंह हुड्डा और सोनिया गांधी के दामाद रॉबर्ट वाड्रा की मुश्किलें बढ़ती ही जा रही हैं. अब गुरुग्राम के खैड़की दौला जमीन मामले में हुड्डा और वाड्रा के खिलाफ नामजद मामला दर्ज किया गया है. यहां पर भूपेंद्र सिंह हुड्डा, रॉबर्ट वाड्रा के अलावा डीएलएफ और ओमकारेश्वर प्रॉपर्टीज के खिलाफ भी मामला दर्ज किया गया है. इन सभी पर धारा 420, 120 बी, 467, 468, 471 के तहत केस दर्ज किया गया है.

इनके अलावा Prevention of corruption act 1988 की धारा 13 के तहत भी मामला दर्ज किया गया है. वाड्रा की स्काई लाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी ने गुड़गांव के सेक्टर 83, शिकोहपुर, सिकंदरपुर, खेड़की दौला और सिही में 7.5 करोड़ रुपये में जमीन खरीदी, लेकिन लैंड यूज बदलने के बाद 55 करोड़ रुपये में जमीन बेच दी.

रॉबर्ट वाड्रा पर बीजेपी का वार, टैक्स चोरी करने का आरोप

आरोप है कि साल 2007 में स्काई लाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी नाम से कंपनी पंजीकृत की गई थी और साल 2008 में इस कंपनी ने ओमकारेश्वर प्रॉपर्टीज से साढ़े तीन एकड़ जमीन खरीदी जिसकी कीमत साढ़े सात करोड़ दिखाई गई.

उधर इस पूरे प्रकरण पर रॉबर्ट वाड्रा ने कहा है कि ‘चुनावी मौसम में बढ़ती हुई तेल कीमतों से लोगों का ध्‍यान हटाने के लिए करीब एक दशक पुराने मुद्दे को उछाला जा रहा है. इसमें नया क्‍या है.’


मानेसर के पुलिस उपायुक्त राजेश कुमार ने बताया कि हूड्डा, वाड्रा और स्काईलाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी प्राईवेट लिमिटेड और डीएलएफ और अन्य के खिलाफ गुड़गांव के खेडकी दौला पुलिस थाने में मामला दर्ज किया गया है. कुमार ने बताया, ‘‘नूंह निवासी सुरिंदर शर्मा की ओर से हमें शिकायत मिली, जिसमें उन्होंने जमीन सौदे में अनियमितताओं का आरोप लगाया था. भाजपा ने रॉबर्ट वाड्रा को निशाना बनाते हुए 2014 के चुनाव में इस जमीन सौदे को एक बड़ा मुद्दा बनाया था.


VIDEO: वाड्रा को इनकम टैक्स नोटिस पर जवाब दें राहुल गांधी : BJP

(इनपुट भाषा से…)

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Robert Vadra, Bhupinder Singh Hooda Named In FIR Over In Gurgaon Land Deals

Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, has been named in an FIR.

New Delhi: 

A First Information Report or FIR has been filed against businessman Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda over alleged irregularities in a string of land deals in Gurgaon.

“We received a complaint today from one Surinder Sharma, resident of Nuh, in which he alleged irregularities in the land deals,” Manesar Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh Kumar told news agency PTI. Real estate developer DLF and Omkareshwar Properties have also been named in the FIR.

The FIR says that Mr Vadra’s company Sky Light Hospitality purchased land in Gurgaon’s Sector 83, Shikohpur, Sikandarpur, Khedki Daula and Sihi for Rs 7.5 crore and sold it back for Rs 55 crore after a change in its classification.

Mr Vadra, however, denied the charges, saying it was attempt to distract people from “real issues”. “It’s election season… there is an increase in oil prices… so let’s divert the real issues of people… what’s new?” he said.

Mr Vadra has been investigated for allegedly getting sweetheart land deals in Haryana when the Congress governed the state. A report by a judge has been shared with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who took charge of the Haryana after the BJP displaced the Congress in 2014. The report has not yet been made public. The BJP says it’s being studied by the Supreme Court but leaks have suggested that Mr Vadra has been indicted along with Mr Hooda.

The BJP has long said that Mr Vadra’s real estate transactions should be investigated to determine if he was allowed unfair deals while the Congress was governing the state. The deals were held up by the BJP during poll campaigns for years as proof of massive corruption on Congress watch.

Mr Vadra has consistently rejected the allegations and called it political vendetta of the BJP target the Congress.

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