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Nation Current Affairs 30 Jun 2016 Judge seeks more tim ...

Judge seeks more time to submit report on Robert Vadra land deals

Published Jun 30, 2016, 8:32 pm IST
Updated Jun 30, 2016, 8:33 pm IST
Earlier, Haryana government had twice extended the term of the Dhingra Commission of Inquiry.
Robert Vadra (Photo: PTI)
 Robert Vadra (Photo: PTI)

Chandigarh: Justice S N Dhingra Commission, which was set up to probe into grant of land licences to some companies including that of Robert Vadra's in Gurgaon during the Congress rule in Haryana, on Thursday sought six weeks more time to submit its report hours before the deadline was to end.

Justice Dhingra said he sought more time in order to go through some documents from a person stating "that they are documents of benami transactions of who benefited from the grant of licence."


Earlier, Haryana government had twice extended the term of the Dhingra Commission of Inquiry.

The BJP government in the state had in December last year extended the Commission's term for a period of six months and on June 17 this year its term had been extended till today.

Earlier, media reports had said the Commission was ready with its report which would have gone into mutation of a land deal between a firm M/S Skylight Hospitality owned by Robert Vadra and realty major DLF. The Rs 58-crore deal related to 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon's Shikohpur village which was sold by Vadra to DLF.

In October, 2012, senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka had cancelled the mutation of the land deal between Skylight Hospitality and DLF. It was mired by controversy over allegations of undervaluation.

The request for extension came in the midst of a row after Congress alleged that Justice S N Dhingra, a retired judge of the Delhi High Court, "has sought favours from government of Haryana, making him incompetent and unsuitable to deliver any verdict or report in the matter."

Read: ‘Will always be used for political gains’: Robert Vadra on land deal allegations

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had also yesterday sought scrapping the Dhingra Commission of Inquiry, pointing out that it was "contrary to established rules and norms, without due cabinet approval and prompted by malice and political considerations".

The present Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana had on May 14, 2015 set up the Dhingra Commission to probe issues concerning the grant of license(s) for developing commercial colonies by the Department of Town and Country Planning to some entities in Sector 83, Gurgaon.

The Commission was to probe transfer or disposal of land, allegations of private enrichment, ineligibility of beneficiaries under the rules, and other connected matters, bringing Vadra land deal under the scanner.

BJP had made the land deals under the previous Congress government in Haryana a major poll issue during the 2014 Lok Sabha and the state Assembly polls, alleging rules were relaxed to favour a few including Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Commission had summoned former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda but he was represented by his counsel on the two dates.

The Commission also summoned 26 government officers as witnesses and examined at least 250 files pertaining to approval, grant or rejection of colony licences to various builders, and change of land use and development plans.

Haryana's Health Minister Anil Vij today hit out at Hooda's criticism of the Dhingra Commission, saying "undue favours" to builders by the previous Congress regime had come under attack even from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). "CAG had also said a lot in its report earlier that government bent rules to benefit Vadra's company," Vij told reporters in Ambala.

"To keep him and his the then political masters happy, Hooda had gone out of the way to dole out benefits. Why is he feeling guilty conscious? What is the need to write a letter to the Governor when the Commission was about to submit its report?”

"The day when the Commission of Inquiry was formed, Hooda could have said the same thing then. Now, why are the Congress leaders feeling scared and why are they making a noise about the whole thing," Vij asked.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala charged that "Justice S N Dhingra has sought favours from government of Haryana, making him incompetent and unsuitable to deliver any verdict or report in the matter."

Surjewala claimed said that Justice Dhingra is also chairman of Delhi-based Justice Gopal Singh Public Charitable Trust.

"The facts are very very clear which are now in public domain. Dhingra Commission is constituted on May 14, 2015. On December 8, 2015, Justice Dhingra as head of his own Trust, that is Justice Gopal Singh Charitable Trust, moves an application to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, asking that a particular individual in Gurgaon has gifted him land for construction of a school and that money should now be utlilised out of public ex-chequer's funds, for construction of a road thereupon as also electricity poles etc. The Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon, where Dhingra Commission is headquartered, works with great urgency and says the road be constructed out of district planning funds within a week. When they realise that it can't be done, then the HRDF (Haryana Rural Development Fund) Board headed by the Chief Minister proceeds to sanction Rs 97 lakh out of which road is being constructed..," Surjewala alleged while talking to reporters.

"..Why is government's ex-chequer's money being utilised to build a road to the Trust property when many other villages in surrounding areas have been demanding for construction of roads, none of which has been undertaken.”