The Haryana Police on Saturday booked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and real-estate companies DLF and Onkareshwar Properties on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, fraud, forgery and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
An FIR was registered at the Khedki Daula police station of Gurgaon on a complaint lodged by Surender Sharma, a resident of village Rathivas in Nuh district of Haryana. In his complaint that formed part of the FIR, Sharma has alleged that “the accused conspired with influential builders, ministers and top government officers, misused their positions and committed a scam worth Rs 5,000 crore”.
Confirming the FIR, Gurgaon Commissioner of Police K K Rao said, “Further investigations are on.”
DCP (Manesar) Rajesh Kumar told The Sunday Express, “We have begun investigations. If need be, all those named as accused would be questioned on their role, as alleged by the complainant.”
Ruling out a Special Investigation Team as of now, he said the police station concerned would carry out the probe.
The present FIR concerns the same 3.5 acres in village Shikohpur in Gurgaon about which Haryana’s IAS officer Ashok Khemka had raised a red flag in 2012, when he was the director general, Consolidation of Land Holdings, Haryana. The Indian Express has carried a series of reports over the past few years on the financial transactions between Skylight Hospitality, DLF and Onkareshwar Properties regarding the land in question.
Robert Vadra’s legal representatives did not reply to queries regarding the FIR. Hooda called it a “political vendetta” against him. “No wrongdoing took place during my tenure. This is is a failed government, they are getting these things done to hide their failures. It is a complaint orchestrated by the BJP. When they could not find anything against me in four years, they did this as a result of their frustration,” Hooda said.
According to the FIR, the complainant alleged that Vadra’s company M/s Skylight Hospitality, launched in 2007 with a capital of Rs 1 lakh, had within a year, managed to purchase a 3.5-acre land from Onkareshwar Properties for a sale deed value of Rs 7.5 crore. The FIR says Vadra later obtained permission from the Town and Country Planning Department of Haryana to develop a “commercial colony” on the land, and then sold the developer’s licence and land to DLF for Rs 58 crore.
The complainant alleged that the association with Vadra and Hooda also helped DLF in other ways, such as wrongful allotment of 350 acres of land to it in Wazirabad.
The complainant, Surender Sharma, runs a medical store in Gurgaon, owns around 10 acres in the district, and claims to be a “social worker”. His father Sohan Lal Sharma was the sarpanch of Rathivas from 2005 till 2010. “I regularly participate in village panchayats. In 2009-10, several panchayat meetings were held demanding action in the scam. But since a Congress government was in power, no action was taken. Since I believe in the government led by Manohar Lal Khattar, I lodged a formal complaint with police. I am determined to take this FIR to a logical conclusion,” Sharma said, while denying any “political affiliation”.
After coming to power in 2014, the BJP government had set up the Justice S N Dhingra commission to probe “shady” land deals under the 10- year Hooda-led Congress government. The commission’s terms of reference also included land deals in Sector 83 (village Shikohpur). The panel submitted its report to the state government in August 2016, but it has not been made public yet because Hooda has challenged the constitution of the commission in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.