HC restrains Haryana from releasing Dhingra Commission report

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Chandigarh, Jan 10 (IANS) In a relief to former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday restrained the Haryana government from releasing the report of the Justice Dhingra Commission of Inquiry into the alleged land scam in Gurugram.

A division bench, which saw the sealed copy of the report, said it could not be implemented “as such”. The court, however, said the constitution of the commission by the Haryana government was not mala fide.

There was a difference of opinion in the order by two judges, Justice A.K. Mittal and Justice A.S. Grewal, in this matter.

The bench referred it to the Chief Justice of the High Court for further orders.

Though the bench agreed that due process was followed in setting up the commission, they noted that a notice under Section 8-B to Hooda and others, which was statutory under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, had not been served.

Justice Mittal said a fresh notice could be issued by the Commission to Hooda, but Justice Grewal pointed out that since the commission had ceased to exist, the government can form a fresh commission.

The bench said the Haryana government could not act on the present report.

The one-man Justice S.N. Dhingra (retired) Commission of Inquiry was set up by the BJP government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in May 2015 to probe the controversial grant of licences for prime commercial properties in Gurugram, including those to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.

The commission had submitted its 182-page report to the Khattar government on August 31, 2016.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had earlier hit out at the Commission and the state BJP government for carrying out a “witch-hunt”.

The report has pointed out irregularities in grant of licences and allotment of land to individuals and companies, including Vadra and his companies, in prime areas of Gurgaon city in Haryana, adjoining the national capital during the tenure of the Hooda government (2005-2014).

Dhingra is a retired judge of the Delhi High Court. Raising serious doubts on the “conduct” and “neutrality” of Justice Dhingra, the Congress had, in 2017, sought complete rejection of the report.

“The report has been used as a political tool for malicious witch hunt by BJP Government,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had stated earlier.

–IANS

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