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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Punjab and Haryana HC asks Haryana why it set up Dhingra panel

The case will come up for hearing on April 26.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: March 17, 2017 4:30:22 am

THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana government to file an affidavit explaining what material was there before Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar that led him to order constitution of the Justice SN Dhingra Commission in May 2015.

The Commission, which had also probed the grant of licence to Skylight Hospitality owned by Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, had pointed out irregularities in issuing licence to various real estate companies in Gurgaon during the previous Congress regime.

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

The report has not been made public yet and on Thursday, the HC ordered that its interim orders would continue wherein according to the Haryana government’s undertaking, the Commission’s report would not be made public.

However, on Thursday, even on the seventh hearing of the petition filed by former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda challenging the constitution and outcome of the Justice SN Dhingra Commission, the division bench, comprising judges AK Mittal and Ramendra Jain, refrained from issuing formal notice to the Haryana government. Hooda’s petition had come up for first hearing before the HC on November 23 last year and till date, Hooda’s counsel and former Union minister Kapil Sibal had been continuing his arguments in the case.

On Thursday, Sibal argued before the court that there was no such definite material before the chief minister on the basis of which he could have ordered the Commission of Inquiry. He also said that it was an illegal decision on the part of the Chief Minister that he ordered constitution of the Commission without the mandatory approval of the Cabinet according to the Commission of Inquiry Act. It was submitted that though the Haryana government was making reference to a chargesheet submitted by the Indian National Lok Dal to then Governor with allegations of illegal grant of licence in Gurgaon. But the state government has not referred to then chief secretary’s reply to the Governor mentioning the allegations as baseless.

The case will come up for hearing on April 26.

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