In a relief for the Congress government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Election Commission on Wednesday held that it had not violated the model code of conduct while clearing the land deal between Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and real estate firm DLF.
The EC’s decision follows two reports it received from the Haryana government on Tuesday — one from its Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Town & Country Planning Department, and the other from its Director, Consolidation of Holdings.
Citing these reports, the EC, in a late night response to BJP election cell’s national convenor R Ramakrishna — who had complained in the matter, said, “There does not seem to be any violation of the model code of conduct by the government of Haryana in the above matter after the coming into force of the model code of conduct from September 12.”
It said it had examined the allegations that the Haryana government had validated the mutation of land sold to DLF Universal Ltd by M/s Skylight Hospitality, owned by Vadra, after enforcement of the model code of conduct, by calling for reports from the concerned state departments. “However, in case you have any further or additional information in this regard, you may furnish the same to the commission,” it said.
“The decision on the request for renewal and transfer of licence in favour of DLF Ltd is pending in the department since October 2012 for want of clarification regarding the issue of ownership. The department has sought this clarification from the Director General, Consolidation of Land Holdings and Land Records, which is yet to be received and hence the request for transfer and renewal of licence is pending in the department on which no action has been taken since then,” said the report submitted by the Financial Commissioner, Town & Country Planning Department.
“It is clarified that neither any allegation about any action taken by the Town & Country Planning Department has been made in the news reports, nor any action on the subject… has been taken in the Town & Country Planning Department, either during the period of model code of conduct or before imposition of such code,” added the report.
The second report, sent by the state’s Director, Consolidation of Holdings, clarified that “no action has been taken” by that office on the subject “after model code of conduct came into force” on September 12.
This report added that “the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon has informed telephonically that no action has been taken by his office in this regard after 12.09.2014.” The EC said Haryana’s Chief Secretary had also confirmed the “factual position” as stated in these reports.
The Indian Express on Monday had reported that the Haryana government had officially legitimised the land deal between Vadra’s M/s Skylight Hospitality and DLF Universal Ltd. Haryana’s former Director General, Consolidation, Ashok Khemka had earlier cancelled the mutation of the land in Gurgaon’s Shikhopur village.
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi informed the Haryana government that the “mutation stands valid” and that “presently, according to revenue records, M/s DLF Universal Limited stands owner of the land”. Vidyarthi’s letter quoted a report prepared by the Assistant Consolidation Officer (ACO) terming Khemka’s orders as “illegal”, “void” and “out of jurisdiction”.
Meanwhile, AICC general secretary in charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmad, said: “Our stand has been vindicated that the Prime Minister of India is deliberately tried to mislead and hoodwink the people of Haryana and even a constitutional authority like the EC”.