The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday stayed the recommendation of criminal proceedings by the Haryana Lokayukta against five former state legislators involved in the alleged change of land use (CLU) case.
The high court bench of justice HS Sidhu stayed the Lokayukta’s decision recommending criminal proceedings against Rao Narender Singh, a health minister in the previous Congress government, Vinod Bhayana, a former chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and Naresh Selwal, Ram Niwas Ghorela and Jarnail Singh, all former MLAs.
The stay order will continue till February 16, the next date of hearing. The Haryana government, the Lokayukta and inquiry officer in the case senior IPS officer V Kamaraj have been directed to submit their responses.
The Lokayukta had acted on a report by V Kamaraj, who investigated the matter on former’s directions.
The initial complaint had come from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Later, CDs surfaced in which these MLAs were allegedly demanding money for change of land use.
The petitioners had argued that the Lokayukta failed to probe the matter within one year as mandated by the law and that the primary evidence was not examined in the case, before the recommendations. It has been argued that the original device used for the recording (recorder and later computer hard disc for making CDs) were not sent for forensic examination and CDs as supplied by the INLD were put to forensic tests, which later became basis of the Lokayukta order.
The division bench of justice Hemant Gupta and justice Raj Rahul Garg issued notice to the government on the application filed by former CPS Ram Kishan Fauji, the sixth accused in the CLU scam.
The application was moved seeking vacation of stay orders passed by the bench against the single-judge order, quashing the FIR recommendation by the Lokayukta against Fauji. The state had appealed against the single-judge order. The high court division bench issued notice to the state government on Fauji’s application. The application was listed for hearing on February 1, when the state’s appeal would also be heard.