The BJP government in Haryana on Thursday decided to order a probe into the circumstances under which the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) was yet to construct a hospital at Gurgaon’s Ullahwas village even 69 months after the execution of the lease deed for the land. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi are the founders of the trust.
“I have ordered the probe, but there are procedures involved that take time. Whenever the final decision is taken by the government on who shall be conducting the inquiry, we shall disclose details,” Haryana’s Panchayat and Development Minister OP Dhankar told The Indian Express. Dhankar, however, did not touch upon the controversial issue of allotment of land to the RGCT.
During the Haryana Assembly elections, the BJP had accused the then Congress government of allegedly favouring the trust. Top BJP leaders had also demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
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The government records, accessed by The Indian Express, revealed how the RGCT sought and received several extensions. The Ullahwas Gram Panchayat first passed a resolution for leasing out five acres to the RGCT for 33 years or more at concessional rate for setting up a 300-bed eye hospital. In August 2009, the state sent the panchayat proposal to the council of ministers. It also excluded the land from the acquisition proceedings and allotted it to the RGCT. However, the land was allotted on a pre-condition that the hospital must come up within two years. Later, the trust offered to pay normal lease money prescribed under the law. The offer was accepted by the panchayat and the Hooda government and the lease deed was finally executed on January 8, 2010. However, after the trust failed to use the land within the prescribed period of two years, state government granted an it an extension to till January 7, 2014.
With that deadline closing in, the state government on November 25, 2013 modified its instructions, dated March 3, 2008, and ruled that the “lessee shall put the land to permitted use within five years” and this “period can be extended for another two years”.
With the five-year period in this case slated to expire on January 7, 2015, the then Council of Ministers met and granted a two-year extension on February 26, 2014.
After considering all the facts, Dhankar ordered that “an enquiry may be conducted in the present case as to under what circumstances, the trust has not been able to put the leased land to permitted use”.