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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Relief for Bhupinder Singh Hooda as HC restrains Haryana govt from publishing Dhingra panel report

The high court order is a huge relief for Bhupinder Singh Hooda who had challenged the constitution of the commission.

chandigarh Updated: Jan 10, 2019 17:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had challenged the constitution of the Dhingra Commission in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had challenged the constitution of the Dhingra Commission in the Punjab and Haryana high court.(HT File Photo)

In a huge relief to former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court today restrained the Haryana government from publishing the Dhingra Commission report to probe grant of licences for development of commercial colonies in Gurgaon, including those of Robert Vadra and real estate major DLF.

It also referred the matter to the chief justice of the high court for further action.

The commission was set up by the Manohar Lal Khattar government in 2015 to probe allegations that laws were flouted in granting land licences in Gurugram during the Hooda-led Congress regime. Among the alleged beneficiary companies was one owned by Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Probing allegedly shady land deals in Gurugram was one of the top poll promises made by the BJP in 2014.

Both the judges agreed that due process was followed in setting up the panel, but observed that the commission did not follow due process in issuing notice to Hooda as mandated under Commission of Inquiry Act.

The judges differed over the issue of the future of the Commission and its report. While justice A K Mittal said that a fresh notice can be issued by the Dhingra commission to Hooda, justice Anupinder Singh Grewal said that since commission ceased to exist, the government can constitute a fresh panel but can’t act on this report.

The judges who opened the sealed report found that it damaged Hooda’s reputation. Senior advocate and former union minister Kapil Sibal had appeared for Hooda while solicitor general Tushar Mehta appeared for the state government.

Hooda had termed the government move a case of ‘witch hunt and political vendetta’ arguing that the chief minister did not have ‘material’ evidence before him when he decided to order the probe in May 13, 2015.

The one-man Commission submitted its 182-page report to the state government on August 31, 2016 after which Hooda challenged Commission’s constitution in the high court.

First Published: Jan 10, 2019 17:01 IST

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