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Haryana govt under the scanner for Vadra deals

Statesman News Service |

statesman news service
CHANDIGARH, 10 AUG: In a fresh embarrassment for the Congress in the infamous "Robert Vadra-DLF land dead", Haryana IAS officer Mr Ashok Khemka has accused the party president Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s businessman son-in-law of using false documents and sham transactions for 3.53 acres of land in Gurgaon.
In his 100-page reply submitted to a three-member enquiry committee set up by the Haryana government last October to look into the Vadra-DLF deal, Mr Khemka is learnt to have said that Mr Vadra, Mrs Gandhi’s son-in-law, thus "pocketed" large premium from the said prime land in the Shikohpur village of Gurgaon.
Bringing the role of the Congress government in the state led by Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda under the scanner, Mr Khemka has claimed that Haryana&’s Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), "helped" Mr Vadra in making these ‘sham transactions’.
The DTCP ignored rules and regulations “to allow crony capitalists operating as middlemen to flourish and appropriate [the] market premium of a license," he alleged in the reply submitted to the government in May.
On the basis of publicly available documents and his own findings, Mr Khemka has questioned the "sale deed" of 12 February 2008 through which Mr Vadra&’s company, Skylight Hospitality, bought the land from Onkareshwar Properties and the "letter of intent" for granting a commercial licence to his company issued by the DTCP in March 2008.
Both of these are "sham transactions" as they were executed only to enable Mr Vadra to collect market premium accruing to him due to state largesse, alleged Mr Khemka, who was transferred from the post of "director general of consolidation of holdings and land records department" within days after he exposed irregularities in land deals of Mr Vadra and reality giant DLF.
"If there was no payment as alleged in the registered deed, can it  be said that the registered deed conferred ownership title over the said land upon Skylight Hospitality by virtue of the sham sale," he questioned in the reply.
Mr Khemka, who had cancelled a land mutuation deal between Mr Vadra and DLF last October, claims that "there was no promise to pay in the future in the registered deed."
He alleged in the letter the DTCP permitted Skylight to transfer the license to DLF in April 2012 and the licensed land was finally sold to DLF on 18 September 2012.
"By allowing the transfer of license issued in the name of Skylight to DLF, the DTCP created a black market for trading in licenses where cronies are issued licenses which are later sold or transferred with permission of the authority for a fat consideration to the real developers," Mr Khemka writes.
On 5 August 2008 Skylight Hospitality entered into an unregistered collaboration agreement with DLF Universal. Mr Khemka observes that this led to loss of crores of revenue to the state exchequer due to a collaboration agreement of this kind has to be registered. He has demanded a white paper on the transfer of all such licenses permitted in the past to expose the "loot of public wealth".
The chief secretary Mr PK Chaudhary said Mr Khemka’s reply is being "examined". Giving a clean chit to the Vadra-DLF deal, a Haryana government’s committee had earlier this year concluded that the orders passed by Mr Khemka initiating an enquiry into Vadra’s land deals were "without jurisdiction, inappropriate and not covered under any provisions of any statute or rules."  The committee also held that the order by Mr Khemka cancelling the land mutation was improper.
While Mr Khemka, currently posted as secretary of Haryana Archives, refused to speak on the contents of his reply, the main Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has demanded a probe into the reply by Mr Khemka by a sitting judge of the High Court.
As the officer appears to have a habit of exposing corruption, Mr Khemka has been transferred 44 times in his 22-year-long career. Following his transfer from consolidation of holdings and land records department, Mr Khemka had accused the Hooda government of shunting him out as a "punishment" for exposing corruption.