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New Delhi, March 9, 2020
Even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, the central probe agency is investigating the M. F. Hussain painting sold by Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to Kapoor for a whopping Rs 2 crore.
However, Congress leaders slammed the BJP for raising unsubstantiated questions to link Priyanka despite her mentioning the painting in her income tax returns. According to ED officials related to probe, Maharashtra Congress leader Milind Deora had written to Kapoor on May 1, 2010 and asked him to approach Priyanka Gandhi directly to buy the painting -- a portrait of her father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The same painting was sold to Kapoor in June 2010. An ED official said that the painting sold by Priyanka to Kapoor will be probed as the valuation of the painting was not done before it was sold. The official also said that as the portrait of Rajiv Gandhi was gifted to the then Prime Minister during the Congress centenary in 1985, it was the property of the party.
The official further commented that as the portrait was bought for Rs 2 crore by Kapoor, it falls under the proceeds of crime. Priyanka Gandhi in June 4, 2010 wrote an acknowledgement letter to Kapoor, after he sent her the cheque of Rs 2 crore. In her letter to Kapoor, Priyanka Gandhi said, "Thank you for purchasing the portrait of my father Rajiv Gandhi painted by M.F. Hussain, which was presented to him in 1985 at the Congress party centenary celebrations and is presently in my possession."
In her letter she also acknowledged the payment by cheque representing the full and final payment towards the painting. Priyanka Gandhi also said that she hoped Kapoor was also aware of the historical value of the work and will ensure its placement in an environment that benefits its stature.
The ED official also said that besides Rajiv Gandhi's portrait, the agency will also investigate from whom Kapoor bought other expensive paintings. The ED probe into the Yes Bank crisis on Sunday had revealed that Kapoor owned over 40 expensive paintings.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders lambasted the BJP for connecting Priyanka Gandhi with the Yes Bank scam. Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala at the party headquarters on Monday said, "Priyanka Gandhi received Hussain's painting as inheritance. And she in her income tax returns mentioned about receiving the amount of Rs 2 crore through cheque."
The ED registered a money laundering case against Kapoor and contended that prima facie he was involved in generating Rs 4,300 crore in black money and "laundering" the amount.
According to ED officials, the matter came to light during another ED investigation when it was found that Yes Bank had subscribed to DHFL's debentures worth Rs 3,700 crore between April-June 2018. Simultaneously, it was also revealed that DHFL sanctioned a Rs 600 crore loan to DUVIPL, run by Kapoor's daughters - Roshni Kapoor, Radha Kapoor-Khanna and Raakhee Kapoor-Tandon - who are the compnay's 100 per cent shareholders.