Haryana’s former Chief Minister (CM) Bhupinder Singh Hooda today demanded that the Manohar Lal Khattar government make the Justice SN Dhingra Commission report public, and accused it of indulging in “witch-hunt” and “sensationalising facts”.
The one-man inquiry commission, which went into the controversial land deals in Haryana also allegedly involving Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, had submitted its 182-page report to the state government yesterday and apparently found irregularities in the deals.
“I demand that the Government make the Dhingra Commission report public soon and stop this witch-hunt and sensationalising of facts,” Hooda , who was the chief minister when the deals were signed, told reporters here today.
He said while the report was yet to be made public, its contents were being “selectively leaked to the media”.
“I can comment on its contents only when the report is made public,” the two-time former CM said.
Asked if he would move court, the Congress leader said, “Let them first make the report public, then we will see”.
When asked about the commission having reportedly hinted at irregularities in the deals, Hooda said, “But that does not necessarily mean that there is an illegality”.
Hooda hit out at the government for getting only a handful of land licences probed, including the one granted to Robert Vadra’s firm.
Giving details of the licence granted to Vadra’s firm Skylight Hospitality, Hooda said the firm was alloted 2.7 acres as per entitlement.
The firm purchased land on January 28, 2008 by paying Rs 7.95 crore, including stamp duty, he said.
“The company also paid commercial colony charges of Rs 7.43 crore to the government. An amount of Rs 73 lakh was deposited for renewal of licence. Thus, total amount paid for purchase of land and statutory charges comes to Rs 16.11 crore.”
“After a gap of five years, this piece of land was sold by Skylight to DLF for Rs 58 crore on September 18, 2012. Even on this amount, the company paid an additional tax of Rs 8 crore and thus they paid a total amount of Rs 24.11 crore which includes the Rs 16.11 crore against the receipt of sale price of Rs 58 crore,” Hooda said.
Hooda hit out at those who claimed his government had gone out of the way to favour Vadra’s firm, giving quick clearances.
“There was no question of extending any favour. There was no overnight clearance given for anything. All such allegations are politically motivated,” he said.
Hooda also said right from 1981 till the current year, successive governments in Haryana have issued licences for 33,697.57 acres of land, including 11,000 acres in Gurgaon alone.
“The very fact that the BJP Government in Haryana chose to appoint a Commission for looking at mere 16 licences, out of 1,558 licences in Gurgaon, comprising about 63 acres out of a total of 11,000 acres goes on to show their malice,” he alleged.
Hooda said the Khattar government has also issued numerous land licences in 2015 and 2016 under the same policy which was followed by the Congress dispensation.
“They gave 14 licences, six of which were given in Gurgaon last year and 8 more were given in 2016, out of which five were for Gurgaon. Now, can they say they have followed the wrong policy,” he asked.
Also, the state government issued a fresh policy on February 18, 2015 under which ‘development rights of land’ as also the Floor Space Index have become ‘tradable commodities’ without even sale of land or transfer of licence, he claimed.
Hooda also hit out at the Dhingra Commission, saying that “In its own order, after sending a notice to me in March this year (for deposing before it), the commission said that documents were not provided to me as there was no specific complaint against me”.
“Under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, particularly Sections 8B, no adverse finding can be given against any person without giving an opportunity of being heard, opportunity to produce evidence in defence and to cross examine witnesses. Nothing was done in my case by the commission,” he claimed.
“Copies of complaints and irregularities/illegalities in granting licenses/CLUs were not sent by the Commission (to him) as the Commission had not intended to put any specific complaints in respect of the specific licences to him. In case the Commission had received any specific complaint about the conduct of Hooda, it would have definitely sent him the copy,” the former CM said quoting from the Commission’s March 25 order.