By Anjana George
Edited by Namrata Caleb, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
“A section of India has become prosperous, unimaginably rich.”- Sudheendra Kulkarni
Let’s face it; everyone does transactions on a daily basis to get gains. You don’t have to go to business school to realize the common sense- we all want to make profits. Its simple logic that when you buy a car for Rs. 5 lakh, you want to sell it at atleast Rs. 4 lakh to gain returns. But what if your buyer wants to pay Rs. 10 lakh for the same car?- aap ke man mein ladoo phoota!(this scenario is possible for vintage cars). A certain Mr. Robert Vadra has done pretty much the same thing and he is now the face of political hullabaloo.
From the time of the religious scripts, we have seen the men folk fight over three main essentials- food, women and land. In India, we refer to land as Mother Earth and yet everyone has wanted to stake claim to their own ‘piece of land’, even to the extent of murdering for it. So what makes land and real-estate so special? Any child will tell you that in urbanized India, real estate investing has become the quick route to wealth for many. And as the adage goes, ‘the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer’.
Mr. Vadra has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; even so that the life of this man has enlivened political prospects for many and also made him a better fashion icon. The story goes that in early 2008, Vadra’s Sky Light bought 3.5 acres of undeveloped land near a highway intersection in the Delhi suburb of Gurgaon for $1.3 million, according to a sales document. Two months later, Mr. Vadra applied to the Congress-controlled state government for a license to convert the land to commercial use from agricultural. Preliminary permission was granted 18 days later, according to the license application and state approval. With that the land became more valuable.
Over the next four years, developer DLF Ltd. poured millions of dollars into Mr. Vadra’s company, reported on its balance sheet as ‘advances’. Then in 2012, DLF said it bought the Gurgaon property from Mr.Vadra’s company for a total of $9.7 million, most of which it had advanced in the preceding years. It was more than seven times his reported purchase price. Following claims by Arvind Kejriwal lead India Against Corruption (IAC) and IAS officer Ashok Khemka, Robert Vadra has become the face of fresh controversy, what with the BJP government in power.
Let’s put it in this perspective- with only high school education and from running a small business of exporting inexpensive costume jewelry, Robert Vadra joined the real estate business forming a firm called Sky Light Hospitality Private Ltd; moving on to become a very successful businessman. Success of the man in this case has truly been because of his woman, or her name more appropriately. Technically, Robert Vadra bought land at low rates, transformed the land for commercial needs, then when the rates became higher, he sold it to a bigger company for good profits. A clean job of a businessman. Also the land nearby too has increased rates; thanks to the bid business deal.
So in this story, where does the corruption lie? People with connections or inside knowledge can position themselves to profit as property changes hands, including by helping speed approvals through bureaucracy notoriously arbitrary and slow to act. The wealthy and politically connected hold large amounts through political gains; what with the added addition of a Gandhi name tag.
It is really unknown as to how much Robert Vadra may be right or even wrong. How the political class or a powerful surname can bring great gains to any businessman. All that is known now is that his fame and name have brought him to be the Director of 12 companies and Additional Director of 6 more. As long as the political and business class don’t down trod the middle class and hardworking farmers, all business can be fair business. When will politics and greed be overlooked to bring a more prosperous India, only time will tell.
Anjana George is a second year student pursuing Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Christ University, Bangalore. She believes in the power of words and their magic to entwine people in thought and understanding. Her subjects of interest include politics, spirituality, architecture and movies among others. She is an avid reader and takes keen interest in writing, storytelling and photography. She aspires to be able to know people, places and lives and share her knowledge of experience with others. She can be contacted at the following email address- firstname.lastname@example.org.