Calls for White Paper from Haryana on land transfer
An independent special investigation team, comprising retired Supreme Court judges, should go into the business dealings of Robert Vadra with realty major DLF and the “quid pro quo” benefits that came to the company from the Haryana government, according to India Against Corruption (IAC).
“This is a fit case for income-tax scrutiny. But who will do it? Not the I-T Department or the CBI or the Enforcement Directorate, because they are all under the control of the government. That is why we want an independent special investigation team of retired Supreme Court judges to investigate the matter,” IAC member Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference here.
The former Income-Tax officer cited court orders and documents to back his charges. He shared the dais with several farmers, who alleged that the Haryana government had fraudulently usurped their land and handed it over to DLF.
Mr. Kejriwal described the State government as an “agent” of DLF, considering the manner in which it acquired land from farmers at below market rates and handed it over to DLF or changed the land use pattern to benefit the construction firm that had bestowed favours on Mr. Vadra’s companies.
He demanded a White Paper from Haryana on government/panchayat/forest land transferred to DLF without environmental clearance. The paper must give details of the increase in the floor area ratio granted to DLF and the change in land-use permissions. “The White Paper would show that the transactions between DLF and Robert Vadra are not between two friends, but a consideration for the favours showered upon DLF by the Haryana government.”
Mr. Kejriwal alleged that the Haryana government had allotted land meant for a hospital to DLF for a special economic zone. DLF then founded a new company, DLF SEZ Holdings Pvt. Ltd., in which Mr. Vadra was a 50 per cent shareholder for a year and then sold it back to DLF. “What role did Mr. Vadra play in the one year when the DLF SEZ was in his control?” Reading from a document, he said the Punjab and Haryana High Court (CMP no 4542 of 2009) passed strictures against the Haryana government on February 2, 2011 in the matter and observed that it had a “mala fide nexus” with DLF.
Alleging that 350 acres of land was given to DLF, he said international bids were invited for a golf course but the rules of the game were changed after technical bids were opened to favour DLF though two other bidders, Country Heights and Unitech, had given higher quotations.
A farmer from Manesar, Om Prakash, related how land acquisition notices were served on them by the State that offered Rs. 12 lakh an acre as compensation in 2006-07. At the same time, some small firms, alleged to be “front companies” of DLF, offered them Rs. 20 lakh an acre, which was much below the market price but some farmers fell prey to the offer. When a few farmers resisted, the Haryana government served a notice under Section 9, which was the final notice of acquisition and award. This made farmers to sell in distress.
“Once all the land came into their possession, the government, just two days before the last day of the award, cancelled the acquisition proceedings and subsequently issued licences in favour of DLF for a major part of the land for development,” he alleged.
Mr. Kejriwal termed DLF’s defence a “bunch of lies.” He said the business dealings between Mr. Vadra and DLF could not be described as between two private entities and should be investigated under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Evidence Act.
Noted lawyer and IAC member Shanti Bhushan said questionable business dealings were covered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Evidence Act and courts could take suo motu notice.
While Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi rejected as baseless IAC’s fresh charges, saying “there is nothing new and no proofs,” Mr. Kejriwal wanted to know why Congress leaders and ministers were coming to the defence of Mr. Vadra if he is a private citizen.