Alleging political vendetta, Bhupinder Singh Hooda approaches HC challenging Dhingra Commission’s constitutionality

he Commission was constituted last year to probe grant of licences in four villages of Gurgaon to various real estate companies, including Skylight Hospitality owned Robert Vadra.

Written by Sanjeev Verma | Chandigarh | Published: November 23, 2016 9:58:42 am
former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. (Express File Photo)

Three days after Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced that Justice SN Dhingra Commission report pointing out irregularities in issuance of licences to various real estate companies in Gurgaon during the previous Congress regime would be made public in next assembly session, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the constitution and outcome of the Commission.

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The Commission was constituted in May 13 last year by state BJP government to probe grant of licences in four villages of Gurgaon namely, Shikohpur, Sihi, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Badha (Sectors 78 to 86) to various real estate companies, including Skylight Hospitality owned by Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.

In his 182-page report comprising two volumes submitted to the Chief Minister on August 31, Justice Dhingra is learnt to have made his observations against the procedural irregularities done the then Town and Country Planning officers as well as the then Chief Minister Hooda’s office.

The petition is listed for hearing on Wednesday before the division bench comprising of Justices AK Mittal and Ramendra Jain.

Hooda has sought directions to quash Khattar’s order dated May 13 last year for constitution of the Commission and the amended notification setting the terms of reference for the Commission “being malafide and contrary to the provisions and scheme of the Act.” He has also sought directions to the Haryana government to produce Commission’s report before the High Court in a sealed cover and “not to publish the same in any manner without the specific permission of this court.”

A plea has also been made for quashing Commission’s report “in so far as observations/ remarks have been made therein in relation to the petitioner (Hooda) in gross violation of principles of natural justice and Section 8 (B) of the Commission of Inquiry Act” and “to refrain from relying upon, referring to or taking any action pursuant to such observations or remarks.”

“On 13.05.2015, an order was passed for appointing a Commission of inquiry, ostensibly in the name of the government of Haryana, but it is believed by the petitioner, it was in reality passed by the Respondent No. 2 (Khattar) at his own instance prompted solely by malice, and to pursue his party’s agenda,” reads the petition. The petitioner has submitted that constitution of the Commission of Inquiry by the Chief Minister himself without any complaint or any material on record about any irregularity in grant of licences was unprecedented and malafide.

Hooda has alleged that the BJP government instead of focusing on welfare of state has “been engaging in witch hunting and vendetta politics” and has been “waging a vicious campaign to damage the public image of the petitioner in particular and the Congress Party in general.”

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