news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute| October 6, 2014, 5.00 pm IST

The Indian Express broke the story on Monday that the Congress government in Haryana has legitimised a controversial land deal between party chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and DLF.

The land deal between M/s Skylight Hospitality owned by Vadra and real-estate giant DLF Universal Ltd. Was legitimized by the government, also cancelling the objection filed by Haryana’s former director general, Consolidation, Ashok Khemka.

The news came on a day when PM Narendra Modi was campaigning in Haryana. Modi urged the Election Commission to take "appropriate action" over the Haryana government's approval since the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government had violated the model code of conduct by granting the approval ahead of the Oct 15 assembly elections.

"It looks as if the 'danda' (pressure) has come from the top. The Election Commission should take cognizance and appropriate action in this regard," Modi told a BJP election rally in Hisar.

What is the deal?

In February 2008, Robert Vadra’s company Skylight Hospitality purchased 3.5 acres of land in Shikhopur, Gurgaon from Omkareshwar properties. 

Three months later, the land was sold by Vadra to DLF for a whopping Rs 58 crore.

Khemka’s objections to the purchase and re-sale

Khemka said the purchase documents were falsified.

He questioned how Skylight Hospitality issued a cheque for Rs 7.5 crores, when the account had only Rs 1 lakh.

Khemka asked whether the cheque no. 607251 was a dummy as the owner of the property, which is Omkareshwar Properties, did not deposit the cheque. He called it a sham sale in his report. 

In October 2012, Khemka, the then Director General of land consolidation dept cancelled the mutation. He asked why the government processed change of land use documents at priority basis. 

He also asked whether the Haryana government’s decision to grant commercial housing project on the plot just a month after Vadra bought the land enabled the prices to skyrocket.

Khemka also said that an Assistant Consolidation Officer (ACO) cannot sanction mutation, and he ordered an enquiry.

What is property mutation?

A property mutation is simply the change of title ownership under certain conditions such as sale/purchase or death of an owner and even if the property is bought through a power of attorney (PoA).

Through mutation, while the new owner gets the property in his name, the government is able to charge property tax from the right owner.

What has happened now?

As Indian Express reports, Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner has informed the Haryana government that the “mutation stands valid” and that 'M/s DLF Universal Limited stands owner of the land.' This has been done using a report filed by an Assistant Consolidation Officer (ACO) terming his superior officer Khemka’s orders as “illegal”, “void” and “out of jurisdiction”.

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