In its report to the Haryana government, the Justice (retd) S N Dhingra Commission of Inquiry is learnt to have flagged several violations in grant of licences for development of colonies in the state during the rule of the previous Congress government.
Sources said the Dhingra report has called for a probe against then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, concluding that his conduct allegedly comes under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act for giving pecuniary advantage to close associates.
Justice Dhingra’s report, sources said, alleged abuse of power and illegal gratification in the grant of licences while citing examples of how approvals were granted or denied in violation of the law and laid-down procedures. Under the Congress government in Haryana, final concurrence of the Chief Minister, sources said, was mandatory for grant of a colony licence.
The report, sources said, recommended an audit by an independent agency and cancellation of licences granted illegally. Justice Dhingra submitted the report to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in August last year.
Hooda challenged the constitutional validity of the Dhingra commission. He alleged that Khattar decided to constitute the commission because of malice and in pursuit of a political vendetta to portray him in bad light.
The probe report is still under wraps and Justice Dhingra has declined comment, saying he has done his job and it is up to the courts to decide whether his report should be made public.
When his comments were sought on the Dhingra report, Hooda said: “These are merely conjectures and nothing else. I have not yet seen the Commission’s report. But if any Commission of Inquiry indicts a person, at least the person should be given notice. Once the Commission asked me to appear, I asked for specifics… At that time, Justice Dhingra himself told me that neither was there any irregularity on my part nor did he want to confront me with any witness. Now, if he has indicted me, it must have been an afterthought and he will be contradicting himself.”
“Also, there are ample Supreme Court rulings which say that if a Commission of Inquiry is indicting a person, the person needs to be summoned by serving him notice under Section 8(b) of the CoI Act, which was not done in this case,” he said.
“There are various irregularities with this Commission. That’s why we have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the case is pending,” Hooda said. His petition in the High Court points out that the notification of the appointment of the Dhingra Commission was done without mandatory approval of the Cabinet and, therefore, the Commission was non est.