The Congress government in Haryana claims it “never favoured” Robert Vadra, son-in-law of party president Sonia Gandhi, in his land deal with realty major DLF in Shikhopur village of Gurgaon. But it now emerges that in June 2013, the office of the Principal Accountant General (Audit), Haryana wrote to the Director General, Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) detailing policy “relaxations” given to Vadra’s company M/s Skylight Hospitality.
“The relaxation of conditions in this case had cascading effect as similar relaxations had to be given to other developers in this sector,” the PAG stated in its letter dated June 7, 2013.
In the letter, the PAG asked for the official file on the colony licence issued to M/s Skylight Hospitality. But the very same day, a letter arrived from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India which stated “ADAI (NR) has desired that instead of thematic para on ‘issue of licences for development of colonies etc after release of land’, thematic audit on the following topics may please be taken up for the current audit report: procurement and utilisation of pipes in PHED; and, implementation of social welfare schemes”.
The PAG, in its June 7 letter, had noted: “While examining the case of M/s Goldline Buildtech, it was observed that in the case of M/s Skylight Hospitality it was decided that as a special case, the area falling in roads and green belt would not be included while calculating area falling in a commercial colony. Examination of this case revealed that the following further relaxations had been given to M/s Skylight Hospitality.”
This is what the PAG detailed in its letter:
Policy: “Site should be approachable to a internal road.”
Relaxation: “The site was not approachable. Though there was no such precedent, the department accepted the proposal of coloniser that approach would be taken through the plotted colony of Onkareshwar and Mark Buildtech in collaboration with Vatika land base for which LoI had already been issued.”
Policy: “Financial capacity of the developer should be sound and should have past experience.”
Relaxation: “The department had not granted the licence to the applicant company earlier. Paid up capital of the firm was only Rs 5 lakh. The proposal was accepted only by considering the status of director of the applicant company. It is pertinent to point out here that in the case of S V Housing, the colonisers were directed to increase the paid up capital to at least Rs 16 crore.”
Policy: “As per the zoning regulations of the Final Development plan of Gurgaon, 50 per cent of the area falling under commercial zone can be developed by private developers.”
Relaxation: “In order to accommodate the developer, an area of 9.223 acres taken from road and green belt and was added to 50 per cent of the commercial area, raising the density of commercial areas to 72.623 acres.”
When his comments were sought, Anurag Rastogi, Director General, TCPD, Haryana, said: “We never withheld the file pertaining to issue of licence to M/s Skylight Hospitality. In fact, the file remained with the auditors for a sufficient period of time. They had been doing this exercise for a long time. The file is lying with us. Even now, if they want, they can take the file from us and analyse it for 10 days. However, if the CAG had dropped the para from the audit, it is a question that only the CAG can answer, not me.”
Onkar Nath, who was the PAG when his office sent the letter to the TCPD, said: “Auditors do not write anything unless we have concrete evidence to back each and every word that we write in our comments. But when we wrote that letter, we received instructions from our head office (CAG) to stop the audit. Thus, the audit could never be completed.”
“I was transferred from the post of PAG, Haryana last month. Until then, the audit had not been completed. We had to stop it midway. I will not be able to comment why such instructions were issued by the CAG,” Onkar Nath said. He is now posted as Director General in the New Delhi office of the CAG.