The Justice S N Dhingra Commission, constituted by the Haryana government in May 2015 to probe grant of commercial licences in four villages of Gurgaon to real estate companies, including M/s Skylight Hospitality of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has found “gross procedural irregularities in allotment of licences”. In first remarks after submitting his report to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Wednesday, Justice Dhingra declined to reveal its contents or name individuals.
“My report contains 182 pages. Without finding irregularities, I had no purpose to write 182 pages. I have named each and every person who I found was is at fault. Whether private or government, any person who was involved in irregularities has been mentioned. Their respective roles have also been mentioned,” he said. Sources said the Commission has indicted certain senior officials who were posted in the Town and Country Planning (T&CP) department and the office of the Chief Minister during the rule of the previous Congress government.
The Commission, sources said, has recommended registration of FIRs against officials in six cases of grant of commercial licences. The Commission, sources said, “understood” the modus operandi by a clutch of persons “sitting in important positions” after perusing “hundreds” of official files, many of them pertaining to grant of licences by the T&CP department. The report, sources said, has cited several instances of approvals and plans being changed to benefi
t builders. “In many cases, real estate companies were allowed to get revised plans approved while in some cases, the policy was changed to grant benefit to the chosen companies. The files show a clear pattern of senior officers in the office of the previous Chief Minister (Bhupinder Singh Hooda) writing on file on behalf of the Chief Minister,” sources said. Sources said the files perused by the Commission showed that master plans were changed in some cases, more than once to benefit companies.
The Commission also found instances of the government sitting on files seeking grant of licences for unusually long periods. Hooda, who led the Congress government in the state for ten years, was also minister in-charge of T&CP. When his comments were sought, Hooda said: “It is all politically motivated, it is a witch-hunt. I have not read the report yet, so I can’t comment further.” The Congress promptly attacked Dhingra and the BJP, saying Robert Vadra was being singled out as part of a “vendetta”.
In New Delhi, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said: “The BJP, including its governments at the Centre and the state, have run a political agenda of vendetta and revenge for years together, purely with a view to vilify and slander. The constitution of the Dhingra Commission was nothing but a mere cog in the wheel of this malicious witch-hunt propagated and perpetuated by BJP for years together with complete and utter disregard for truth and facts.”
Justice Dhingra, on his part, said it was for the Haryana government to take a call on his report. “I cannot reveal names or their roles to the media at this stage. I cannot talk to you about the contents of the report because legally the report is government property. Till the government does not take a decision on when the report should be made public, I cannot tell you anything.”
“I have pointed out various irregularities in grant of licences and the manner in which these irregularities were committed and the persons who benefited from it. Rest, indictment and all, it is for the state government who they want to proceed against with whatever action they find adequate,” he said. The report is in two volumes — the first is devoted to the findings of the commission and the second is on evidences that formed basis for the findings.
Justice Dhingra said “contents of the report will be revealed, as per the Commissions of Inquiry Act, when the government places the report on the table of the House or acts on it”. On the documents he received on June 30 that led to a third extension for the Commission, he said: “I have forwarded all documents to the state government along with my report and suggested that those documents require further thorough investigation.” To a question on his findings about “a particular company”, he said, “I don’t know about which particular company you are talking.
My mandate was to inquire about irregularities in grant of licences. The report is regarding all those subjects which were handed over to me and I have handled all those subjects in detail in my report.” Told that the Congress had decided to challenge the constitution of the Commission on the grounds that the terms of reference had been changed midway, Justice Dhingra said: “Any order which is perfectly legal can also be challenged in a court of law.”
The Dhingra Commission was constituted on May 14, 2015 to probe grant of commercial licences in Sector 83 of Gurgaon. On August 28, 2015, the terms of reference were revised and the Commission’s scope was extended to four villages: Shikohpur, Sihi, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Badha (Sectors 78 to 86 of Gurgaon). On December 7, 2015, the Commission was granted an extension until June 6, 2016. Two more extensions were granted until June 30 and August 31.
Vadra was not summoned by the Commission. Nor was any representative of M/s Skylight Hospitality called. Hooda was asked to appear before the Commission, but he sought a copy of the complaint/material for which his presence was required. He did not appear before the Commission since he received no material.