BJP worried over Raje son's financial deals

BJP worried over Raje son's financial deals

Top BJP leaders’ dilemma over the strategy to adopt in the case of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, whose nexus with former IPL chairman Lalit Modi has thrown up a different dimension, has been accentuated by reports about her son’s financial deals with the disgraced cricket administrator.

In fact, the central party leaders believe that they should rather wait for more “revelations” to tumble out before deciding on a response.

Raje’s ties with Lalit Modi came to the fore in 2006 when the latter acquired heritage havelis in Amber, allegedly at throwaway prices, to turn them into high-end luxury hotels.

Then Jaipur divisional commissioner is said to have stated in a report that the deal was made through Amber Heritage City Construction Pvt Ltd, later known as Ananda Heritage Hotels, which had Lalit Modi and his wife Minal on its board.

BJP leaders feel it will be difficult for Raje and her son, Jhalawar MP Dushyant Singh, to explain how Modi, through Ananda Heritage, had reportedly given a loan of Rs 11.6 crore between 2007 and 2009, starting with an unsecured loan of Rs 3.8 crore in 2007.

The money was apparently invested in Niyant Heritage Hotel, which Singh and his wife had set up in 2005 with Rs 1 lakh.
In three years, the price of each share of the company had gone up from Rs 10 to Rs 96,000. In fact, two former directors of the Ananda Heritage, Sajjan Modi and Satya Narayan, are currently under probe by the Enforcement Directorate, according to BJP sources. Adding to the loan for her son, Modi hosted Raje along with others at the Four Season Hotel in Mumbai when he used the place as his headquarters.

Raje stayed in a Deluxe Sea View Room (No 3202) on March 11 and checked out on March 13. Her room was charged Rs 19,719. Swaraj Kaushal, the husband of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, also stayed at Four Seasons as Modi’s lawyer. The Board for Cricket Control in India had refused to clear their bills.

Though Modi’s relationship with Raje had undergone changes in the last two years, the former IPL chief made it a point to highlight his ties with her over two decades. Two days ago, Modi’s aides released a set of documents that indicated that Raje had supported his case for immigration in Britain, with a secret statement to British authorities in August 2011. He further claimed in a TV interview that he had known Raje for over 30 years and she had accompanied his wife Minal to Portugal for cancer treatment.

So far, Raje has sought to put up a brave front after she explained her position to BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday. Raje is said to have explained her friendship with Modi’s wife, claiming that the documents shown by TV channels were “unverified and unsigned”. On Thursday, Raje’s office said she has neither sought an appointment with Shah nor has she been denied a meeting. It also refuted reports that 30 BJP MLAs went to Delhi in support of Raje.

A meeting that Home Minister Rajnath Singh had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to speculation that two leaders discussed the situation in Rajasthan. Most BJP leaders, however, said it would not be easy for the central leadership to take a call on Raje's future as she continues to enjoy support of BJP MLAs.

In 2013, the BJP’s massive victory in the state polls was credited to her leadership and aggressive campaign. That fact cannot be easily set aside if a decision is to be taken regarding her future. In the LS polls, the BJP won all the 25 seats from the state, one BJP leader said.

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