CAG calls off Haryana land scam probe [Mail Today (India)]
(Mail Today (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) IN A sudden turnaround just days after the new CAG took over, the Haryana government got relief from an audit being conducted by it under orders issued during the tenure of the previous CAG. The principal accountant general of Haryana was directed by CAG headquarters in New Delhi on June 3 to immediately discontinue the audit being conducted on licences issued to private developers in Haryana and, instead, focus on the procurement of pipes for the public health department and implementation of social welfare schemes.
There have been allegations leveled against Robert Vadra, son- inlaw of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, regarding a land deal in Gurgaon struck by his company, and against Haryana's town and country planning department, by IAS officer Ashok Khemka. The audit began in March 2013. Moreover, these orders were received at a time when the principal accountant general's office had already been on the job for at least three months.
Access to documents pertaining to this development shows how the audit team was given little cooperation by the Haryana town and country planning department before the entire audit was finally shelved hurriedly.
A CAG audit was, in fact, sought by Khemka into grant of licences to develop private colonies to get to the bottom of the land scams in the state. The discontinuation of the CAG audit of private developers will come as a huge relief for Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his government, says Anupam Gupta, advocate for Khemka. " It is very unfortunate that the CAG, after ordering the audit, has arrested its conduct.
This raises many questions with Vadra's shadow looming large over this entire exercise. The CAG owes an explanation to the nation," he said.
Perusal of the correspondence between principal accountant general Onkar Nath and the then principal secretary of the Haryana town and country planning department, S. S. Dhillon, shows the department gave the auditors very little coordination.
A letter written by Dhillon to Nath accessed by Headlines Today contains excuses made by the department — that an audit had already been done and that offices of the department were being shifted — in order to stall the CAG audit.
Regarding the news that the new CAG has scrapped audit of land allotment licences being carried out by Haryana's principal accountant general, it's clarified that CAG has not seen such a file and nor approved any move to cancel such an audit.
But a decision to change themes of the audit was taken at a lower level, keeping in view that there were already four topics on land & buildings for the current year audit.
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