All you wanted to know about the DLF-Vadra deal: Part 2

Vivek Kaul
Several leaders of the Congress party have termed the accusations being made by Arvind Kejriwal led India Against Corruption(IAC) against Robert Vadra as cheap publicity. Rashid Alvi yesterday even questioned the veracity of the documents put out by Kejriwal and company. But a detailed look at the balance sheets of the companies owned by Vadra and statements made by DLF throw up several questions. Vadra is the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress party, and chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance which governs this country. DLF is India’s largest listed real estate company.
How does DLF justify giving Vadra an advance of Rs 50 crore?
Robert Vadra owns 99.8% of Sky Light Hospitality Private Ltd. The balance sheet of the company as on March 31, 2009, shows an entry of a plot of land in Manesar, Haryana, valued at Rs 15.38 crore. This means that somewhere during the period April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, the company must have bought this piece of land for Rs 15.38 crore. This can be concluded because the balance sheet for March 31, 2008, does not show this entry.
Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality got an advance of Rs 50 crore against this land from DLF. The company says this in a statement released on October 6. “Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd approached us in FY 2008-09(i.e. the period between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009) to sell a piece of land measuring approximately 3.5 acres…DLF agreed to buy the said plot, given its licensing status and its attractiveness as a business proposition for a total consideration of Rs 58 crores. As per normal commercial practice, the possession of the said plot was taken over by DLF in FY 2008-09 itself and a total sum of Rs 50 crores given as advance in instalments against the purchase consideration.”
This statement tells us that Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality approached DLF to sell a piece of land of 3.5acres sometime during the period April 1, 2008 and March 31,2009. DLF agreed to buy this land and valued it at Rs 58 crore. Against this valuation it gave Sky Light Hospitality an advance of Rs 50 crore.
What is interesting is that Sky Light bought a piece of land for Rs 15.38 crore anytime between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. They approached DLF to buy it during the same period. And DLF agreed to buy it for Rs 58 crore.  So in a period of less than one year the value of the land went up by Rs 42.62 crore (Rs 58 crore – Rs 15.38 crore) or 277%. This doesn’t really sound right given that it was precisely at that point of time the international financial crisis was starting and both real estate as well as stock markets were weak.
Did DLF really complete this deal in the financial year 2008-2009 (the period between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009)?
DLF’s statement says very clearly that it took over the possession of the land in 2008-2009 from Sky Light Hospitality. If that is the case why does this land show up as a fixed asset in the balance sheet of Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality as on March 31, 2011? Even the advance of Rs 50 crore given by DLF shows up as a current liability on the balance sheet of Sky Light Hospitality. How could the land be with both Vadra and DLF at the same time? This is something that DLF needs to throw light on.
Was DLF’s advance to Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality really an interest free loan?
DLF’s statement says very clearly that the company started giving the advance amounting to a total of Rs 50 crore to Vadra starting in the year 2008-2009. This advance was still on the books of Sky Light Hospitality as on March 31, 2011, listed as a current liability. A current liability is a debt or an obligation which is to be repaid within a period of less than one year. Interestingly there is another entry of an advance of Rs 10 crore from DLF which is there on the balance sheets of Sky Light Hospitality dated March 31, 2010 and March 21, 2009. This is again an advance which was given for a period of greater than one year.
DLF in its statement also claimed not to have given any loans to Vadra. Real Earth Estates Private Ltd, another company owned by Vadra shows an entry of Rs 5 crore as a loan from DLF as on March 31, 2010. The IAC media release points out that the company in a filing with Registrar of Companies had specified that this was an unsecured loan. An unsecured loan is a loan in which the lender does not take any collateral against the loan and relies on the borrower’s promise to return the loan.
There are two conclusions that one can draw here. One is that what DLF thinks is an advance looks more like an interest free loan to Vadra. And two, its claim of not having given any loans to Vadra don’t hold good.
What did Vadra do with these so called advances and real loans?
Sky Light Hospitality had a Rs 25 crore advance from DLF on its books as on March 31, 2009. A small portion of this was used to pick up a stake of 50% in a hotel joint venture with DLF. This company called Saket Courtyard Hospitaliy runs one hotel in Saket, New Delhi, which is reported to be on the block.
Sky Light Hospitality shows an advance received of Rs 50 crore from DLF as on March 31, 2010. During the course of the year April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, the company paid a total tax deducted source of Rs 4.95 lakh on the interest earned on its fixed deposits.  TDS is cut at the rate of 10.3% when the interest earned on fixed deposits with a bank during the course of one year crosses Rs 10,000. What this tells us is that Sky Light Hospitality earned Rs 48.3 lakh (Rs 4.95 lakh/10.3%) as total interest. This interest obviously was earned out of investing a part of Rs 50 crore which the company received as an advance from DLF during the financial year 2009-2010 into bank fixed deposits.
Sky Light Hospitality also gave out advances and loans to other companies owned by Robert Vadra. As on March 31, 2010, Sky Light Hospitality had given a loan of Rs 6.61 crore to Sky Light Reality Private Ltd, another company owned by Vadra. This was used to fund seven flats in DLF’s Magnolias project and which are shown to be worth around Rs 5.23 crore. It was also used to buy a Rs 89 lakh apartment in DLF’s Aralias apartments.
The balance sheet as on March 31, 2009, shows an advance of Rs 3.5 crore to Sky Light Realty Private Ltd. This advance was used by Sky Light Realty to fund agricultural land in Palwal and land at Hayyatpur in Haryana. It also used around Rs 9 lakh to book flats with two builders. Sky Light Reality also earned an interest of around Rs 31 lakh by placing a part of this advance as a fixed deposit with banks.
Vadra’ Real Earth Estates had a total paid up capital of Rs 10 lakh as on March 31, 2010. DLF gave the company a loan of Rs 5 crore. This means the debt equity ratio of the company was 50 (Rs 5 crore/Rs10 lakh) which is humongous. This money was used to part-fund fixed assets worth around Rs 7.1 crore. This includes a plot in the posh GK-II area of Delhi and land in Bikaner, Gurgaon, Hassanpur and Mewat. Whether DLF benefited with its relationship with Vadra we don’t really know. But Vadra clearly benefited from the same.
The article originally appeared in Daily News and Analysis on October 11, 2012.
(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He can be reached at [email protected])