Vadra land deals: BJP sees massive scam; Khemka feels ‘vindicated’

Chandigarh : A day after the CAG blamed Haryana’s previous Congress government for showering favours on party chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, who made millions in controversial land deals, the BJP, which now rules the state, claimed a “massive scam” during the nearly 10-year tenure of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government.

Bureaucrat Ashok Khemka, who had questioned a land deal of Vadra, said the report “vindicated” his action but did not go deep enough, while the Congress defended the former Hooda government, saying all decisions were in accordance with the law.

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“The public was always convinced there was a massive scam in Haryana,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said on Thursday.

“It just confirms the allegations that were being made… Vadra’s company was extended undue favours and he made massive gains by misusing the authorities,” Rao told IANS.

“The Congress government had bent all rules allowing them to make windfall gains. Action will be taken by the state government, the report (of CAG) has already been tabled,” he said.

Senior IAS officer Khemka, who was embroiled in controversy over Vadra’s land deals, on Thursday tweeted: “My action in VADRA-DLF land-licence deal vindicated in CAG report, but continue to suffer the stigma of chargesheet.”

He, however, noted there were more issues to be probed yet. “Many issues untouched in the CAG report. Cycle of corruption involved the triad – business, politics and bureaucracy,” he said in another tweet.

The Congress on Thursday dismissed the CAG rap, claiming its government performed “purely in accordance with the law” in the land deal.

Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement that the state’s principal accountant general (PAG) neither indicted the Hooda government nor Vadra or his company for any violation of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975, or any rules or policy.

“There is no such finding of wrongdoing as is being sought to be alleged and projected unfairly and incorrectly,” he said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, tabled in the Haryana assembly on the last day of the budget session which ended on Wednesday, blamed the Hooda government for showing undue favours to Vadra.

Vadra’s company, Skylight Hospitality, sold a prime 3.5 acre plot in Manesar, Gurgaon, to DLF in 2008 for Rs.58 crore. The land had cost his company only around Rs.15 crore and was sold to DLF after obtaining change of land use (CLU) and other permissions from the Hooda government.

Vadra did not share the Rs.43 crore profits with the state town and country planning department, the CAG report said.

The report said the “possibility of extending undue benefit to particular applicant (Vadra’s company) cannot be ruled out.” It also questioned the “distinction” made by the Hooda government for Vadra’s company in giving permissions.

Khemka had ordered the scrapping of the land deal then, saying that it was illegal and alleging that Vadra’s land deals caused loss of crores of rupees to the state. He also ordered a probe.

Later, KJhemka was transferred and served a charge sheet for his actions by the Hooda government, which gave Vadra a “clean chit”.

“Real culprits sit in judgment over me. My pain and suffering may help to detox and cleanse the body politic,” tweeted Khemka, who is now the secretary and commissioner of Haryana’s transport department, without naming anyone.

The CAG has indicated that the Hooda government had obliged Vadra with quick sanction of the permissions required. Some other companies being favoured also figured in the CAG report.

The controversy became a national issue with opposition parties alleging that the then Congress government was doing everything to help Vadra in his land deals in the National Capital Region and areas around Delhi.