Robert Vadra’s firm’s licence to be cancelled
KM Pandurang, director of TCP, said the department had completed the procedural formalities for cancelling the licence in line with the provisions of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975.Updated: Sep 19, 2019 02:37 IST
The Haryana Town and Country Planning (TCP) department has decided to cancel the so-called colonization licence granted to Robert Vadra’s Sky Light Hospitality Private Limited in 2008 and subsequently transferred to realty company DLF Universal Limited for Rs 58 crore. The company of Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was granted the licence when the party was in power in Haryana.
KM Pandurang, director of TCP, said the department had completed the procedural formalities for cancelling the licence in line with the provisions of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975. This included serving notices on the colonizer and giving it an opportunity to be heard, he said.
“The department has grounds for cancelling the licence as the mutation of this land was set aside by the then Director General, Consolidation of Holdings in 2012, thus affecting the title of the land,’’ Pandurang said.
Mutation is the transfer or change of title of a property in the land records of the revenue department. One of the conditions stipulated the grant of a colonization licence under the Act of 1975 is that licence holder should have a clear title to the land. A colonization licence allows the holder to set up a colony for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.
Vadra’s lawyer Suman Khaitan was unavailable for a comment on the development. His office staff said that a message would be conveyed to him.
A DLF spokesperson said the company had complied with all regulations and paid all dues to the government for the licence and applied for its renewal in line with official policy. “We would examine the cancellation order and would thereafter, decide future course of action,” the spokesperson said.
The colonization licence was originally granted to Sky Light Hospitality by the TCP department for setting up a commercial colony on 2.7 acres in Gurgaon’s sector 83 (Shikohpur). Sky Light Hospitality, by way of a sale deed of September 18, 2012, sold 3.53 acres of land including the licensed area of 2.7 acres to DLF Universal for ₹58 crore.
TCP gave in-principle approval for the transfer of licence to DLF in April 2012, but final permission for the transfer was not granted.
Over the years, DLF Universal had been depositing a renewal fee with the TCP department for the licence on behalf of Sky Light Hospitality, but the department has not renewed the license after 2012.
Responding to a question on the status of this licence, Haryana chief minister ML Khattar said in 2018 that as the state government did not renew it, the licence was deemed to have lapsed.
Last year, a criminal case was registered by police in Gurgaon against Vadra, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others in the context of this land deal.
The then Director General, Consolidation of Holdings, Ashok Khemka, had on October 15, 2012 set aside the mutation (number 4513) of Sky Light’s 3.53 acres, causing a furore -- and bringing the deal into focus.
“A mutation was sanctioned without jurisdiction on Sept 20, 2012 to give effect to sale deed of September 18, 2012 by the assistant consolidation officer who is not a revenue officer. Only a revenue officer as defined in Punjab Land Revenue Act is competent to sanction mutations,’’ read Khemka’s order setting aside the mutation.
The Indian Administrative Service officer was in 2013 charge-sheeted after the then Congress government held him liable for misconduct, overstepping his jurisdiction in passing orders to cancel the mutation, and engaging in public criticism of the actions and policies of the state government.
The Bharatiya Janata Party regime under Khattar dropped the charge-sheet,giving him a clean chit.