Chandigarh: With the Justice S.N. Dhingra Commission enquiry report into controversial land deals in Haryana likely to be submitted soon, former state Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Wednesday raised objections to the panel’s constitution saying it was “contrary to law”.
In a communication to Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Hooda said the Dhingra commission had been set up “contrary to established rules and norms, without due cabinet approval and prompted by malice and political considerations”.
Hooda urged the governor “to revoke the constitution of the Commission of Enquiry”.
The one-man Dhingra commission, set up by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana in May last year, has been asked to probe controversial land deals in Haryana, including the land deals of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said recently that the report would be submitted by June.
In his letter, Hooda sought to draw the governor’s attention “to abuse of power by the present BJP Haryana Government for achieving a mala-fide purpose”. “It has unjustly invoked the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act,1952 (the “Act”) to set up the Commissions of Enquiry, Haryana headed by Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.N. Dhingra (Rtd.) (the “Commissiona),” Hooda said in his letter.
“It is pertinent to mention here that even before the present BJP Haryana government came into power, there were numerous statements made by their Ministers and members of BJP before the media that action would be taken against family members of the leaders of the Congress Party,” Hooda pointed out.
The Congress leader said that the BJP government had deliberately set up the enquiry commission to probe grant of licences to “some entities only in one sector, i.e., Sector-83, Gurgaon”.
“The BJP Haryana government has no material or evidence whatsoever to form an opinion about the existence of any definite matter of public importance for appointment of the Commission in terms of Section 3 of the Act and thus the appointment of the Commission is contrary to settled law,” Hooda said. He maintained that the terms of reference of the commission were with a view “to harass and malign me and other members of the Congress leadership as well as ministers who served in my cabinet and certain government officers who served in my government and for no other purpose”.
He pointed out that the constitution of the panel did not have prior cabinet approval and “the terms of reference of the enquiry were also changed midway and that too at the suggestion of the Commission itself”.
He said if the BJP government wanted a thorough probe into land deals, all licences granted in Haryana till date should have been enquired into.
Vadra had termed the inquiry commission as a “political witch-hunt” launched against him by the BJP government in Haryana.
The Khattar government had appointed retired Delhi High Court judge, Justice S.N. Dhingra, to head the one-man commission to probe the grant of licences to Vadra’s company and other firms for developing commercial properties in Gurgaon’s Sector 83 and some other prime areas.
The commission is mandated to probe their subsequent transfer or disposal, allegations of private enrichment, ineligibility of beneficiaries under the rules, and other connected matters.
The scope of the Dhingra commission was expanded in August last year and it was asked to probe grant of all licences to colonisers and individuals in four villages of Gurgaon by the previous Hooda government.
Vadra and others were allegedly granted favours by the Hooda regime in issuing licences to develop commercial properties in Gurgaon’s Sector 83.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pointed out that Vadra’s firm, Skylight Hospitality, had not submitted documents on financial adequacy. Despite that, the firm was granted a licence.