1. Robert Vadra land deals report delayed again, sparks another row; here’s why

Robert Vadra land deals report delayed again, sparks another row; here’s why

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, today sought six weeks more time to submit its report hours before the deadline was to end.

By: | Chandigarh | Updated: July 1, 2016 2:11 PM
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 benefitted from the grant of licence. (PTI) Robert Vadra land deals row: 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 benefitted from the grant of licence. (PTI)

Robert Vadra land deals row: 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, today sought six weeks more time to submit its report hours before the deadline was to end.

Official sources said the Commission has sought six weeks more to submit its report.

Also Read- Robert Vadra claims vendetta, BJP says he shouldn’t be scared if not guilty

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 benefitted from the grant of licence.”

Haryana government had earlier 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.”

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.

Confront law rather than indulging in political propaganda: Naqvi

With the Congress targeting Justice S.N. Dhingra, who is probing the Vadra land deals, of being used by the BJP for ‘political witch-hunt’, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said that instead of indulging in political propaganda the grand old party must pay heed to legal processes.

“Everyone in the Congress must understand that sins are not washed through political propaganda. And they are thinking that their wrong doing will be hidden by this political propaganda. Law is doing its work and instead of indulging in political propaganda they should confront the law. I would like to suggest them to stop this,” Naqvi told ANI here.

The Congress party had earlier criticized the judicial commission-led by Justice S.N. Dhingra for the delay in probing land licences issued to companies, including that of Robert Vadra’s, in Gurgaon and said it was being used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for political witch-hunt.

Seeking resignation of Justice Dhingra, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted that the former has compromised his position on the behalf of undue advantage leveraged to him by the Haryana Government-led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

“Justice Dhingra has clearly compromised his position, by accepting undue favours from Government of Haryana for a trust of which he is chairman. He is no longer fair and prejudiced and consequently in the highest tradition of the democracy, we expect him to resign as the judge of the commission,” said Surjewala.

Late on Thursday, Justice Dhingra, in a letter to Khattar Government, informed that he was to submit the report today. But before he could proceed to Chandigarh he received a bunch of sale deeds from someone who said that these documents are about ‘benami’ transactions of those who benefited from the grant of licenses.

“I was to submit report today. But before I could proceed to Chandigarh I received a bunch of sale deeds from someone who said that these documents are about benami transactions of those who benefited from the grant of licenses,” he said in his letter.

“Therefore, I deferred my Chandigarh visit to consider these documents. I need six more weeks time. If no extension is granted, then I will submit my report tomorrow itself,” the letter added.

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

The controversy around Vadra is based on a 3.5-acre plot in Gurugram, which he bought in 2008 for Rs. 7.5 crores and sold just months later for 58 crores to DLF, India’s largest real estate developer

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