Jalandhar: Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala accused Rahul Gandhi of tax evasion in land purchase in a village in Palwal district, a charge rejected by him as "entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory".

At a press conference here, the INLD chief demanded that the matter be investigated by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.

"Rahul Gandhi purchased a piece of land measuring around 6.5 acre in Hasanpur village in Palwal district of Haryana in March 2008. He resorted to tax evasion in it.

Rahul bought this land at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre as mentioned in the land registration deed even as its valuation by the government at that time was Rs 8 lakh per acre," Chautala told a press conference here.

He said the government value of the land given to Gandhi at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre was Rs 8 lakh per acre while its market value was much more at Rs 35 lakh per acre.

In a point by point rebuttal, Gandhi's office said in Delhi that he had purchased 51 Kanal 13 Marla ( 6.456 acres) of Sailab Land in Hassanpur Village, Tehsil Hodal, District Palwal in Haryana.

"The land was purchased for a total purchase price of Rs 26.47 lakh paid for by cheque, which is the equivalent of Rs 4.10 lakh per acre.

"The prevailing Collector Rate for Sailab Land in Hassanpur Village, Tehsil Hodal for 2007-08 and as of March 3 2008, the date of purchase was Rs 1.5 lakh per acre.

"Gandhi paid stamp duty of six percent amounting to Rs 01 lakh 58 thousand 820 on the purchase price of Rs 26.47 lakh at a rate of Rs 4 lakh 10 thousand six per acre (i.e. at over 2.7x the prevailing Collector Rate)," a release by the office of the Congress leader said.

The release said that allegations made by Chautala against Gandhi at his press conference in Jalandhar are entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory.

Chautala also claimed that Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's "benevolence" has helped Robert Vadra purchase properties worth several crores allegedly at "throw away prices" and demanded a probe by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court.

Rahul Gandhi denies Chautala's allegations

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi dismissed as "entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory" allegations by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala that his purchase of 6.5 acre land in Haryana was irregular.

Chautala, of the Indian National Lok Dal, alleged wrongdoings in Gandhi's purchase of 6.5 acre land in Hassanpur in Palwal district of Haryana bought March 3, 2008.

Talking to reporters in Jalandhar in Punjab, he said while Gandhi bought the land in Hassanpur, his brother-in-law Robert Vadra had purchased land in Gurgaon from the same seller.

Vadra is embroiled in a controversy over various land deals in Haryana.

Gandhi's office here, in a late evening statement, said the land in Hassanpur was bought March 3, 2008 at a price of Rs.26.47 lakh paid through a cheque at the rate of Rs.4.10 lakh an acre.

It also said that the Congress leader paid stamp duty of six percent amounting to Rs.1.58 lakh for the purchase.

"Allegations made by Om Prakash Chautala against Rahul Gandhi in his press conference  this evening in Jalandhar are entirely false, utterly baseless and defamatory," it said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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