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Poll or No Poll: Wheels of Justice Move On

Vadra case

Contrary to popular perception being created in media that the recent investigations against Robert Vadra is driven by the upcoming elections, a fact-check suggests just the opposite. In fact, the legal machinery which had in ways slowed down until 2014, the advent of the new government at the Centre and in states of Haryana and Rajasthan had allowed the law to follow its natural course according to rules.

HARYANA
DLF-Vadra
  • Even as the police investigations were on, in less than a year of the new government taking charge at the Centre, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had released a report on Haryana’s town and country planning department in March 2015 questioning Vadra’s dealings in Haryana.
  • In May 2015, the BJP-ruled Haryana government had set up a one-man commission headed by Justice S N Dhingra which submitted its report to the government in August 2016.
  • The wheels of justice had continued when in Sep 2018, Haryana police had booked Vadra and Hooda with an FIR against Vadra, Hooda and two companies – DLF and Onkareshwar Properties – being filed at Kherki Daula police station in Gurgaon.
  • By September 2018, the Police had booked Vadra and Hooda under Sections 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the IPC, and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Manesar
  • In yet another case, CBI had taken over from Haryana and registered the case in September 2015 on allegations that private builders in conspiracy with unknown public servants of the Haryana government had purchased around 400 acres of land from farmers at throwaway prices.
  • In February 2018, Hooda and 33 others were chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in this case.
  • That chargesheet was related to land deals in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages of Gurgaon, alleging a scam totalling Rs 1,500
RAJASTHAN
Bikaner Land Grab Case
  • In the same year that the new government came to power, 16 first information reports (FIRs) were registered in August 2014, and two in September in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
  • Within a year in 2015, ED had registered a criminal case under the Money Laundering Act, taking cognizance of a case filed by the Rajasthan Police following forgery allegations in the allotment of land in the area, considered sensitive due to its proximity to the Indo-Pak border.
  • In Aug 2017, the Rajasthan government had recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wherein the agency registered 18 cases of fraudulent and fictitious claims against entities that included a company linked to Vadra.
  • In 2017, when CBI had taken over the investigation, the charges had included cheating and forgery relating to alleged fraudulent claims/allotments in lieu of land acquired for Mahajan Field Firing Range, Bikaner, used by the Indian Army.
  • In November 2018, ED had summoned Vadra for questioning.
HIMACHAL PRADESH
  • In another related development, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had summoned Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in connection with a land deal in Shimla’s high-security zone in 2016.

Therefore there are enough instances to show how the wheels of justice have always been in motion, away from all the public noise and the political slugfest that often follows a high profile case. Elections or no elections, the law has taken its normal course.

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