The Himachal Pradesh High Court Thursday issued a notice to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in connection with a land deal in Shimla’s high-security zone. Priyanka is constructing a house next to the President’s retreat in Shimla’s Chharabra. A bench headed by Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan issued the notice on a petition filed by RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya. The RTI activist has been seeking details of the property and permissions granted by the state government under section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act. The court fixed June 2 as the next date of hearing.
In his plea, Bhattacharya has claimed that while the Centre had given him information relating to Sonia, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka’s property in Delhi, the Shimla Deputy Commissioner’s office had denied him similar information on the ground that Priyanka was an SPG protectee. His lawyer Vikrant Thakur told the court that authorities in Himachal denied information on flimsy grounds. Earlier, the activist had approached State Information Commission against the DC’s order. While the Commission directed authorities to give information under RTI Act, Priyanka approached the high court and a stay was granted on the order. After the SIC summoned the Shimla DC despite the stay, state’s Chief Information Commission Bhim Sen and member K D Batish were forced to tender an apology before the court as Priyanka filed a contempt petition. Bhattacharya seems to have chosen to carry on his fight by approaching the high court once again, seeking information in the matter.