Sibal counters Irani, says land acquisition ‘legal’

Sibal counters Irani, says land acquisition ‘legal’
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New Delhi [India]: Hours after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Smriti Irani accused Kapil Sibal of being involved in a land scam during his tenure as law minister in 2013, the Congress leader dismissed the claims, saying that it was a “legal” acquisition.

According to a media report, Sibal and his wife acquired a piece of land valued at Rs 89 crore in New Delhi municipal area by paying just Rs 1 lakh.

Irani, referring to the report, said that the pair got the ownership of a company, Grande Castello, from a person who was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for bribery allegations at the time and against whom South African journalists had levelled charges of money laundering.

Quoting the news report, she said, “Grande Castello, with no business in Financial Year 2013-14, commenced purchase of a piece of land, which eventually cost Rs 45.21 crore. To fund this, the company raised interest-free loans and book overdrafts.”

“Once the land was registered in the company’s name in 2014-15, the company decided to revalue the aforesaid land based on the ‘Market Value’ as per valuation report obtained from the Government Registered valuer, thus raising the value of the land by Rs 43.79 crores to Rs 89 crore, almost doubling the value,” she added.

However, Sibal dismissed the allegations, saying, “A person who does not know the meaning of money laundering is making allegations? Yes, I bought the company, does anyone mind? I paid and did so from my earnings, tax for which was paid by me, but no one saw it. I paid income tax and all my records are in order.”

“If you have a problem, ask me. Why are you asking Rahul Gandhi?” Sibal further asked.

Also, the Congress leader advised the BJP to not deflect attention from the real issues and speak on the CBSE paper leak matter.

He added, “Today, a minister came out as a party worker to address a press conference. The BJP should have spoken on the CBSE issue and addressed the problems of the students. Instead, Irani started deflecting the real issues.” (ANI)