Before the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime registered the case, the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government of the Congress had dragged its feet on action against former chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Ram Kishan Fauji for months in the graft-for-CLU (change of land use) case.
It took no action even after forensic examination authenticated the video evidence in a compact disc. The clip showed Fauji as seeking money allegedly for helping someone get the CLU permission from the government. On July 21, Chandigarh’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) had sent its audio-video examination report of the 136-second footage to the state government, stating that the video file was not doctored.
“In frame-by frame looking at the contents and the audio under the spectrographic and waveform examinations, no tampering with the video file could be detected,” CFSL senior scientific officer (ballistics) wrote to Haryana’s director general of police (crime).
The Hooda government had adequate time to register an FIR (first-information report) against Fauji on the basis of the lokayukta’s recommendation, but it kept dragging its feet. The model code of conduct for the Haryana assembly election came into effect only on September 12, when the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the voting days.
Later, the Congress, which was in a denial mode, gave Fauji the party ticket from the Bawani Khera assembly constituency, overlooking the objections of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Tanwar in a meeting of the party’s election panel. Tanwar was opposed to fielding tainted leaders in the “cash-for-CLU” scam. On Wednesday, the new government ordered the state vigilance bureau to register the criminal case against the former CPS under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the basis of the forensic report.
On January 20, the lokayukta, justice Pritam Pal (retired), had recommended to the state government to register a case against Fauji under the same law and depute a “senior, competent police officer” to investigate the case expeditiously on all counts of corruption allegations made in the sting-operation video. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leaders Abhay Chautala and Ashok Arora had released the CD to the media in September 2013.