Hooda govt in Haryana bent rules to favour Robert Vadra firm: CAG

NEW DELHI (TIP): Taking to task the previous Congress government of Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has alleged that land rules were relaxed, ignored on more than one occasion, to favour M/s Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd, a firm owned by Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The CAG report, tabled in the Haryana assembly Wednesday, the last day of the budget session, alleges that because of Vadra, rules were also relaxed for other developers and builders, including real estate major DLF Universal Ltd.

Underlining that “the possibility of extending undue benefit to particular applicants cannot be ruled out”, the report mentions how a commercial licence was granted to Sky Light Hospitality merely after reading Vadra’s name in the director’s column.

The CAG said it examined cases of nine firms which applied for 14 commercial licences in Sector 83, Gurgaon and found that Vadra’s firm, one of the nine companies, had not submitted documents on financial adequacy. “The applicant has not submitted any document in respect of financial capacity… name of the director alone was mentioned.”

It was the job of the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) to assess the financial capacity of applicants. Stating that were glaring discrepancies in the cases the auditors examined, the report notes that “no uniform criteria/ benchmarks were applied for assessment of financial adequacy with the result that appraisal was ad hoc and varied from case to case”.

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Asked about the comments in the CAG report, P Raghvendra Rao, Additional Chief Secretary, Town and Country Planning Department, said: “We have prepared our reply to all such observations recorded by the CAG in its report. The reply, which runs into 30 pages, has been submitted to the state government for approval. Once the government approves the reply, we shall be able to respond to each and every observation made in the CAG report.”

Detailing the alleged relaxations made for Vadra’s company, this is what the CAG recorded:

  • The minimum area norm for a commercial colony in a Hyper Potential Zone like Gurgaon was two acres. “… projects were sanctioned in Sector 83, Gurgaon for area measuring less than two acres on the rationale that if applied land was contiguous with the already licensed area, then area of both contiguous plots was to be taken into account.”
  • “While appraising the licence of M/s Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd, it was observed that out of 3.531 acres applied area, 0.83 acre fell in residential zone and 1.35 acres fell in the 24-metre internal circulation plan road. After excluding these areas, net area for commercial licence remained 1.351acres. However, the coloniser was assessed to have fulfilled the minimum area requirement of two acres.”
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