Robert Vadra Land Deal: Storm After Justice Dhingra Delays Report

Justice Dhingra’s “mystery source” delays investigation into Robert Vadra’s land deals in Haryana. 

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Explainers
3 min read
Six week breather for Robert Vadra? (Photo: Robert Vadra/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/robert.vadra1/photos">Facebook</a>)

Hours before he was to submit his report, Justice SN Dhingra sought six more weeks to investigate alleged irregularities in the grant of licenses by Haryana’s Department of Town and Country Planning to companies, including Robert Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality.

In an email to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the retired High Court Judge said he “received a bunch of sale deeds from a person who claimed that these documents were about benami transactions of those who benefitted from the grant of licenses.”

Justice Dhingra has refused to reveal the identity of the person who sent him these documents, but confirmed to CNN News 18 that it was not a politician.

Who is Justice SN Dhingra?

Justice (retd.) Shiv Narain Dhingra (Photo Courtesy: YouTube/<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKWOaU1MpzA">The Institute of Company Secretaries of India</a>)
Justice (retd.) Shiv Narain Dhingra (Photo Courtesy: YouTube/The Institute of Company Secretaries of India)

Justice SN Dhingra is a retired Delhi High Court judge who is well known for his judgements in the 2002 Parliament attack case and the Nitish Katara case.

Six months after the BJP came to power in Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar government appointed the retired Delhi High Court judge to investigate a series of questionable land deals sanctioned by the previous Hooda government.

The villages of Shikohpur, Sihi, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Badha came under the ambit of probe.

What are the Allegations Against Vadra?

In October 2012, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal convened a press conference and accused Robert Vadra of buying a cache of properties from DLF’s unsecured loans at prices which were much lower than the market rate.

Other deals came to public attention after IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who claimed he was being targeted for setting aside the mutation of the property sold by Vadra to DLF. This 3.5 crore plot in Shikhopur village near Manesar was sold to Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality for seven crore. It was then sold to DLF for Rs 58 crore.

The Hooda government allegedly tweaked rules and regulations to favour Vadra.

(L-R) Priyanka Gandhi, Robert Vadra, Lalu Prasad and Askhilesh Yadav at  Kunal Kapoor and Naina Bachan’s marriage reception.  (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155236003910029&amp;set=ecnf.764044809&amp;type=3&amp;theater">Robert Vadra</a>)
(L-R) Priyanka Gandhi, Robert Vadra, Lalu Prasad and Askhilesh Yadav at Kunal Kapoor and Naina Bachan’s marriage reception. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Robert Vadra)

How Did Congress Retaliate?

In a Facebook post, Robert Vadra stood his ground, claiming “they cannot prove anything without proof, and there is nothing there to prove. I will always be used for political gains...”

The Congress has meanwhile, launched a three-pronged attack on Justice Dhingra.

1. Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has questioned the very constitution of the Justice SN Dhingra Commission. A day prior to the scheduled submission of Justice Dhingra’s report, Hooda wrote to Governor KS Solanki claiming that Cabinet approval had not been sought before the judicial commission was constituted.

2. The Congress claims Justice Dhingra is compromised. They justify their claim citing the Haryana government’s grant for building a pucca road leading to a school run by a charitable trust chaired by Justice Dhingra.

3. The often repeated “Robert Vadra is being targeted because he is Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law”.

Justice Dhingra is due to submit his report on 31 August.

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