Justice S N Dhingra, who headed a commission to probe alleged irregularities in land deals including those linked to Robert Vadra during the previous Congress government in Haryana, said his report is “important and full of facts” and highlights the working of bureaucracy.
He said the report has not yet come into the public domain but “once it sees the light of the day, people will come to know how the bureaucracy works”.
However, the retired Delhi High Court judge refused to be drawn into the controversy on the findings of a committee comprising three bureaucrats — Krishna Mohan, K K Jalan and Rajan Gupta which was set up by the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda government on October 19, 2012 and had given a clean chit on the land deal connected with Vadra.
While Krishna Mohan, who was the then Additional Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner, Revenue and Disaster Management Departments, has retired, Jalan is at present the Secretary in the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Gupta, who was the then Principal Secretary in the states’ excise and taxation department, is with the state cadre now.
It was reported that Jalan was the Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning department, which had renewed the licence to Vadra in January 2011 and Ashok Khemka, IAS, who had found alleged irregularities in the land deals, had then raised objection to his appointment in the committee along with Mohan.
The CBI is also probing some of the land deals done during the previous Congress regime and the Supreme Court on April 12 while reserving its judgement on a batch of connected matters had said that “the CBI may conclude the pending investigation within a period of four months.”
The Haryana government in April had also filed Justice Dhingra commission’s report in a sealed cover in the apex court pursuant to its April 12 order.
The report was filed after a senior advocate, assisting it as an amicus curiae in the matter, had “pointed out that it has not been published on account of a statement made on behalf of the Haryana government in some proceedings pending in the High Court (Punjab and Haryana).”
The top court had noted that the report of the Justice Dhingra Committee “will have bearing on present proceedings.”
When the issue relating to land deals had reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Khemka had reportedly alleged that the then state government was misleading the court.
Justice Dhingra told PTI that his probe was independent and he was not concerned with the committee’s report which had held as “administratively improper” the October 15, 2012 order of Khemka, who as the then Director General, Consolidation of Holdings and Land Reforms-cum-Inspector General of Registration (DGCH), had cancelled land deal in Sikhopur village which was in favour of Vadra’s company Skylight hospitality.
The committee of bureaucrats, who were allegedly close to Hooda, had justified the land deal concerned by interpreting the provisions of the Consolidation Act 1948.
It had said “the sale and purchase of the land under the consolidation in an estate is prohibited without sanction of the Consolidation Officer only after notification of a scheme under section 19.
“Accordingly, as on September 18, 2012, the date when the impugned sale deed was made, at best it can be said that only a notification under section 14 (1) of the Act was in force and no scheme under section 19 was notified, therefore the impugned sale deed did not not require prior sanction of the consolidation officer and it cannot be declared violative of any law for this reason”.
Further, the committee had observed that Khemka’s October 15, 2012 order regarding cancellation of mutation was “administratively improper because the then DGCH (Khemka) had already been transferred out on October 11, 2012 and as such an important quasi-judicial order the nature of which has been discussed” should not have been passed by him after his transfer.
Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality had entered into the agreement with realty giant DLF for the sale of the land.
Hooda had filed a petition in November 2016 in the high court challenging the very constitution of the Dhingra panel, alleging that the government action of ordering the probe was “mala fide” and a result of political vendetta.
Without mincing any word either on the findings of the committee set up by the then Hooda government or on his report, Justice Dhingra said he was entrusted to look into the grant of licences for change in land use in four villages of Gurgaon, now Gurugram, and during the probe, largescale harassment of people owing land at the hands bureaucracy surfaced.
“There is a delay in making public my report but the purpose of my inquiry will not be defeated. Whenever, even after 10 years, the report sees the light of the day it will be relevant as my report is one which speaks about the working of the bureaucracy and how people are harassed. It is an important report full of facts,” he said.
However, the retired judge said he would only reiterate what he told in a press conference while submitting his report on August 31, 2016 that “Had there been no irregularity, I would have given one sentence report mentioning there is no irregularity. My report has 182-page. Without it (irregularity), I did not have any reason to write 182 pages.”
Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar government had on May 14, 2015 set up the one-man commission to probe issues concerning the grant of licence(s) for developing commercial colonies by the Department of Town and Country Planning to some entities in Sector 83, Gurgaon including mutation of land deal between Skylight Hospitality and DLF.
The commission formed under the commission of inquiry Act had examined the licences given by the then Hooda-led Congress government for the development of colonies, housing societies and commercial complexes in four Guragon villages of Sihi, Shikohpur, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Bada.
( Source – PTI )