IAS officer accuses panel of recording inaccurate statement

  • Hitender Rao, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 07, 2016 11:19 IST

Raising a dispute over recording of his deposition before the Justice SN Dhingra Commission of Inquiry, senior Haryana IAS officer SS Dhillon who had appeared before the panel, has sought a true unedited copy of the audio recording of his testimony from the Commission.

The panel, which is probing grant of licences to developers in Gurgaon, including Sky Light Hospitality of Robert Vadra, sonin-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was on the verge of submitting its report on June 30 when it was granted extension till August 31.

‘Text does not depict direct response’

In a communication sent to the Commission, the IAS officer pointed out that the copy of his March 2 testimony sent to him did not depict the exact response, which he had stated while answering the questions put by the panel. Dhillon was posted as director general, town and country planning in 2008 when Robert Vadra’s company Sky Light Hospitality was granted a commercial licence for 2.7 acres in Sector 83 (Shikohpur) of Gurgaon.

Dhillon has sent half a dozen letters to the Commission since March 9 pointing out alleged inaccuracies and omissions in March 2 testimony copy sent to him and has sought audio tapes of the testimony. However, the panel has not responded.

“The copy of testimony recorded on March 2 as supplied through e-mail on March 6 by Sandeep Kumar of your office does not depict correct picture as the same consists of incomplete sentences and missing words. The correct words can be verified from audio recording only. I expect a fair and impartial assessment of the testimony and I believe that the same, along with my subsequent submissions, will be taken into consideration while drawing conclusions,” he said.

“On April 22, Aastha (a subordinate) informed me on phone that copies of testimony along with unedited true copy of audio recording of the same will be supplied to me,’’ the officer said in his letters to the panel.

The officer wrote that audio recording was done on all the four days of his testimony as the mike placed in front of him showed red light indicating that the recording system was functional.

Justice Dhingra’s clarification

However, Justice Dhingra (retd) said: “During the testimony, we had put up an audio recording system. But it did not function properly. The audio recording system had conference-like microphones which did not serve the purpose and the system did not work. However, we provided all the witnesses with a paper (hard) copy of their statement soon after the testimony for correction.”

On being asked about the inaccuracies in March 2 text, Justice Dhingra said the stand-in stenographer could not type properly. “However, I myself corrected the text after the IAS officer expressed his inability to make corrections,’’ he said. Dhillon, however, said he never expressed his inability to make corrections in the March 2 written statement. “As far as audio recording is concerned, the recording system was tested by the Commission staff before my deposition began. So there is no point of it being nonfunctional,’’ he said.

Commission officials confirmed the use of audio recording system by panel as per their discretion. The terms of reference of the Commission also makes a mention of provisions of audio recording.

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