Hooda government favoured Vadra in land deals: CAG

  • HT Correspondent, Reuters, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2015 23:00 IST

The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) on Wednesday blamed the Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda for facilitating M/s Skylight Hospitality, owned by party president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, to earn substantial profit by selling off prime Gurgaon land to realty giant DLF Universal Ltd by according in principle approval of transfer of licence in April 2012.

“The town and country planning department neither at the time of granting in principle approval nor at the time of formal approval for transfer of licences ensured that the net profit beyond 15 % of the total cost accrues to the public exchequer. This enabled the developers to earn huge profits merely by selling the land, while the government had to forgo a sizeable amount,’’ said the CAG audit report for 2013-14. The report was tabled in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha at the fag end of the last day of the budget session.

No discussion was held in the assembly on the reports presented in compact discs (CDs).
“In case of M/s Skylight Hospitality Pvt Ltd, the land was sold to its collaborator, M/s DLF at 7.73 times the original cost after in principle approval of transfer of licence,” the audit report said.

The CAG has also questioned why a distinction was made for Vadra’s company by the Hooda regime, while granting a colonisation licence in Sector 83 (Shikohpur) of Gurgaon.

Hindustan Times was the first to report this issue.

The CAG said projects, including that of Vadra’s company, were sanctioned commercial licences for less than 2 acres, a norm for setting up a commercial colony in the hyper-potential zone of Gurgaon. The rationale taken by the town and country planning department was that if applied land was contiguous with the already licensed area, then the area of both the contiguous plots is to be taken into account.

As per the final development plan of Gurgaon-Manesar 2021, the area falling under roads was not to be calculated towards net planned area and only benefit towards floor area ratio (FAR) was to be given for transferring such land. “While this principle was applied in 12 other cases, in case of Skylight Hospitality the whole area was indicated. It is not clear why such a distinction was made,’’ the CAG said.

The CAG said in the case of Skylight Hospitality, the Gurgaon site was not approachable. However, the department decided to waive this condition while granting licence in March 2008 on the ground that approach would be taken by the licensee through the plotted colony of Onkareshwar and Mark Buildtech in collaboration with Vatika Landbase Pvt Ltd.

“The DTP (HQ) in his March 17, 2008 noting said that though department had been considering approach road for existing colonies for grant of additional licenses but there were no precedents where approach was to be given through a plotted colony of another licensed colony. Though there were no specific guidelines or earlier precedents in this regard, permission was granted in this case,’’ the CAG said.

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