FROM THE ARCHIVE
M Tariq Khan
“Laws are like cobwebs, they may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”―Jonathan Swift.
Nothing perhaps more aptly sums up the general perception among the people over premiere investigation agency’s move to put a lid on the country’s two most politically monitored investigations of disproportionate assets charges against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati. The cases, say political observers, were born out of politics and have been shut for the same reasons.
Not surprising given that the probe agency’s approach in such DA cases against politicians has been to rely on arithmetic rather than conduct genuine investigation. CBI’s clean chit to Mulayam and his son Akhilesh Yadav after initially making out a case against the two seems to be a calculated move of this mathematics.
“The manner in which the CBI has done a turn-around in cases against Mulayam and Mayawati has dented its image and credibility beyond repair,” says advocate BK Singh, who once represented petitioner Vishwanath Chaturvedi on whose PIL the Supreme Court had ordered inquiry against Mulayam in 2007.
Chaturvedi, who has filed a review before the SC seeking clarification of its December 2012 order dropping proceedings against Akhilesh’s wife Dimple in the DA case, is equally vehement in his reaction. “They (CBI) took over five years to establish a prima facie case but just five months to reach the conclusion that they had got their arithmetic wrong initially,” he points out.
In its closure report, the investigating agency says “a large number of advances were earlier shown as assets as well as expenditure, leading to double accounting, which now stand corrected.”
“The explanation is ridiculous. Who are we dealing with here: sleuths of a crack investigation agency or a bunch of incompetent accountants, who carried out back of the envelope calculations on Yadav family’s assets,” sneers Chaturvedi.
Sure enough, the investigating agency never seems to have done any serious investigation of its own in the case except relying on property documents provided by the petitioner. “They took sale deed copies of the properties from me but never bothered even once to record my statement also in the case,” says BK Singh. In fact, Singh had to move the Allahabad High Court when the then deputy inspector general (stamp and registration) OP Singh Yadav refused to provide him sale deed copies of the properties purchased by Yadav. He got them only after Justice Pradeep Kant directed the registration authorities to furnish the desired information to the petitioner on September 5, 2005. “Under section 91 of the Registration Act 1908, a person has the right to inspect and obtain a copy of property deeds on payment of a fee,” informs Singh.
The posh Vikramaditya Marg, once famous for its five sprawling government bungalows (Panch Bangalia) is today an avenue dominated by the Samajwadi Party much the same way as Mall Avenue, another upmarket boulevard, occupied by arch political rival BSP. The turf tussle between the parties for acquiring properties on these two VVIP stretches of Lucknow began in 1993 came to an end with the two buying or occupying half-a-dozen prime bungalows each by 2012.
THE YADAV FAMILY’S REAL ESTATE EMPIRE
Year 2005 saw the Yadav family embarking on a property buying spree like never before. The commercial building on the prime Mahatma Gandhi Marg and the three sprawling bungalows on Vikramaditya Marg were all purchased in just four months time from June 20 to September 5, 2005.
This correspondent was greeted by Raj Kumar Yadav, the caretaker, who resides in bungalow number 1-A Vikramaditya Marg and looks after other properties of the Yadavs in the area. “See that boundary wall of Awadh Girls Degree College in the distant, all the land till there and beyond it is owned by the (Yadav) ‘parivar’,” he tells rather proudly.
Adept in politics, the senior Yadav and his two sons, not to mention the daughter in-law, showed that they possessed remarkable skills in striking bargains and pulling off land deals too. Sample this: In a money-spinner, both Akhilesh and Prateek managed to sell off their farm land on the outskirts of Lucknow (village Kamta in Ismailganj on Faizabad Road) to a little-known Moradabad-based Liza Builder netting Rs 5 crore in 2005. “They sold this land at approximately Rs 925 per square feet and utilized the money to purchase prime real estate in upmarket MG and VD Marg at roughly Rs 400 per square feet. If that puts a question mark over these transactions, so be it,” reveals Mohd Idrees, a real estate agent in Ismailganj. , when he
Property documents gleaned by HT show that Prateek sold his one-bigha plot, (khasra number 283 in village Kamta) he had bought on December 27, 1999, from Rajesh Bhojwani and Ranvir Singh,. to Surendra Singh Bindra of Liza Builders, Moradabad on October 7, 2005. The deed was worth Rs 2.5 crore in which Rs 1 crore was paid as advance and a stamp duty worth Rs 10 lakh. The same day, Akhilesh too sold his plot measuring over a bigha to Liza Builders for Rs 2.5 crore, with Rs 10 lakh paid as stamp duty and Rs 1.25 crore as advance (bayana).
From just three bighas of land in 1993, Mulayam in his affidavit before the Supreme Court in 2006, admitted to purchase of some 18 properties and “agricultural lands” in the State. He, however, contested their total worth, saying even a calculation of the value of all properties mentioned by the petitioner would only come to Rs 9 crore and not several hundred crore as alleged by petitioner Chaturvedi.
The Realty Trail: Acquisitions V/S Accusations
Address: Commercial building at 31/93 Mahatma Gandhi Marg
Owners: Akhilesh and Dimple Yadav.
Total Area: 10,000 square feet
Declared Value: In her 2013 affidavit before the EC, Dimple has declared her share as Rs 67,50,000. Taking Akhilesh’s share also as equal, the property’s value would be Rs 1.35 crore. The couple bought this building in 2005 for Rs 37 lakh and it now houses Royal Bank of Scotland..
Estimated Market Value: Rs 10-15 crore
Address: 8 C (also known as 1-A Vikramaditya Marg)
Owners: Dimple and Akhilesh Yadav
Total area: 23,872 square feet.
Declared Value: Rs 83, 27,288 lakhs (Akhilesh Rs 41,63,644 and Dimple Rs 41,63,,644). Dimple bought it for Rs 35 lakh on January 7, 2005 from Ujwala Ram Nath, a resident of 32-A Friends Colony, New Delhi.
Estimated Market Value : Rs 8-10 crore
According to the sale deed, the 23,872-square-feet property, referred to as Khasra number 8C, was embroiled in litigation (a leased property that changed hands). The property papers state that the buyer also takes the responsibility of dealing with all the litigation and legal dispute related to the property.
The plot has an old two-storeyed bungalow built on an area of 6,951 square feet. Its construction value was assessed on Rs 4,500 per square meter, the circle rate fixed for 1st class construction. After 40 per cent depreciation on the value of constructed portion, the cost of the house was assessed at Rs 17,43, 660. The consideration for transferring of lease hold rights with a balance term of 23 years was put at 17,50,000. The total value of the property was assessed at Rs 34,93,660 against which Dimple paid Rs 35 lakh.
Address: 8 D (adjoining 1-A Vikramaditya Marg)
Owner: Mulayam Singh Yadav
Total area: 23,876 square feet.
Declared Value: The conversion of this land from nazul into freehold was done on June 20, 2005 by Mulayam Singh Yadav, resident of 19, Vikramaditya Marg, for an amount of Rs 40.61 lakh. The 24-page registry deed no. 5649/05 was signed between 6 and 7 pm at the residence of the then chief minister
Estimated Market Value: Rs 8-10 crore
Address: 8/2 Vikramaditya Marg
Owner: Prateek Yadav, son of Sadhna Yadav wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Total Area: 14,158 square feet
Declared Value: Prateek bought this house for Rs 1.72 crore, with a stamp duty of Rs 17.2 lakh from one Sanjay Seth of Shalimar Builders on October 7, 2005
Estimated Market Value: Rs 7-8 crore
Address: 31/93 ka Ramana Dilkusha (Vikramaditya Marg)
Owner: Akhilesh Yadav
Total Area: 3333.33 square feet
Declared Value: Mulayam bought this property for Rs 14 lakh in 1999 the name of his first wife Malti Devi. After her death on May 23, 2003, the property was transferred to Akhilesh Yadav. The throwaway price for the property is justified in the deed on the ground that the “market value of the land at the rate of Rs 3,700 per square metre comes to Rs 10,65,600. The market value of the construction at the rate of Rs 180 per square feet comes to Rs 1,44,000. As this construction is 50-years old and is of inferior quality, the market value of the land and construction is not over Rs 12,09,600, the sale consideration of Rs 10 lakh”. The deed also mentions that Yadavs already own property to the south of the plot sold.
Estimated Market Value: Rs 1 crore
Address: House 3-A/484, Vishwas Khand, Gomti Nagar
Owner: Sadhna Yadav wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav
Total area: 2150 square feet
Declared Value: 10,16,800
Estimated Market Value: Rs 1.25 crore