Ex-CM fails to appear before Haryana probe panel

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Gurgaon, March 25 (IANS) Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday did not appear before the one-man Commission of Inquiry probing the grant of licences to some entities in Gurgaon’s Sector 83, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s firm.

The probe panel of Delhi High Court Justice S.N. Dhingra (retd) was set up in May 2015 to probe the grant of commercial licences to hundreds of private companies, including Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality and DLF.

The commission last week summoned Hooda to appear before it by March 25 to record his statement regarding the allotment of land to Skylight Hospitality and other private companies.

Security in and around the commission office in the Civil Lines area here was tightened ahead of Hooda’s expected visit.

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“It was believed that Hooda will appear around 12 noon but he did not come. The reason for his absence are not known,” an official told IANS.

However, former chief minister’s lawyer Narendra Hooda told the media outside the commission office that the notice issued to the senior Congress leader was not clear about what kind of information the inquiry commission wanted from Hooda.

Last month, the commission summoned Haryana Chief Secretary Deepinder Singh Dhesi and officials of the private firms for recording of statements.

The commission earlier examined retired IAS officer and now member of Union Public Service Commission Chattar Singh, who was the principal secretary in the chief minister’s office during Hooda’s tenure.

Singh handled the files of the town and country planning department in the CMO.

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After the BJP government in Haryana set up the probe panel, its scope of inquiry was widened on Justice Dhingra’s advice.

The commission is expected to give its findings and recommendations with respect to the circumstances under which licenses for the development of commercial colonies were granted to a few entities in Gurgaon.

Vadra’s company purchased nearly 3.5 acres of land in the same sector in Shikohpur village on the Delhi-Jaipur-Mumbai National Highway 8 (nearly 43 km from Delhi) but later sold it to the DLF after completing certain formalities during the rule of Congress government headed by Hooda.

Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka cancelled the deal, terming it “illegal”.

On March 17, Hooda said the Manohar Lal Khattar government’s action in ordering a probe into alleged land scam in the state was “politically motivated”.

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Reacting to the summons, Hooda had lashed out at the BJP’s state government, saying it would not achieve anything.

“Obviously, there can be no second opinion on this,” Hooda told reporters when asked to comment whether the summons were politically motivated.

“Otherwise, why should there be a commission for one or two villages. Everyone knows who is their target, but they will not achieve anything,” the senior Congress leader said.

On February 10, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said in Chennai that the one-man commission inquiring into the controversial land deals was likely to submit its report before June.

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