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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fake deals, false papers helped Vadra make crores: Khemka

NEW DELHI: Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka's inquiry report into the land deal between a company owned by Robert Vadra and DLF in Gurgaon has accused Vadra's firm of forgery, falsification, and sham transactions. The offences punishable under section 82 of the Registration Act, 1908, can attract "imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both," the report says. In his report to the Haryana government, Khemka has charged the Gandhi son-in-law, real estate giant DLF, and others also with violations of Indian Penal Code (IPC). He has estimates that the land licensing scam of Haryana could be as big as Rs 3.5 lakh crore in the last eight years. To reach this figure, Khemka has quoted the premium of Rs 15.78/acre earned by Vadra, and used this figure for all 21,366 acres of land given under colony licences by the state. On February 12, 2008 Vadra's Skylight Hospitality bought 3.53 acres of land in Shikohpur, in sector 83, Gurgaon, from Onkareshwar Properties for Rs 7.5 crore, then obtained permission to build a commercial colony there. Over the next few months, Vadra transferred the land and permission for colony to DLF and made a minimum profit of Rs 42.61 crore, according to Khemka. 'Entire statutory appartus was a castle of sand' "The series of sham transactions, starting from the registration of a deed on 12.02.2008, came to an end with the execution of a sale deed No. 1435 dated 18.09.2012 for Rs 58 crore in favour of M/s DLF Universal Ltd. The land, along with the commercial colony license, was sold for Rs 58 crore. Such transfers act as the perfect ruse or opportunity for middlemen to milk the market premium arising out of the grant of colony license," Khemka points out in his report. Khemka, a 1991 batch IAS officer, was the director general of land records and consolidation of land holdings and inspector general of registration, Haryana, when he ordered cancellation of the mutation of the land deal between Vadra's Skylight Hospitality and DLF. Khemka was transferred by the state government, which later set up a three-member committee last October to look into his actions on the Skylight-DLF deal. Khemka's report has now emerged in public through the detailed representation submitted by him to the state's chief secretary in response to the inquiry ordered against him. In his report, Khemka says the capacity of Skylight Hospitality to develop a commercial colony "was nothing else other than Mr. Robert Vadra. The man became the measure of everything and the entire statutory apparatus a castle of sand." When the company was given the permission to develop a colony, its paid up capital was just Rs 100,000 with two shareholders — Vadra and his mother Maureen. Khemka has also accused Vadra and promoters of Onkareshwar Properties, which sold the 3.53-acre plot in Shikohpur, of "wilfully committing" serious offences punishable under section 82 of the Registration Act. He says Vadra, his mother, and the directors of Onkareshwar Properties have also committed offences under sections 417, 468 and 471 of the IPC, as well as the Companies Act. The statements in the registered deed that Rs 7.5 crore was paid by Vadra's company via Corporation Bank's cheque number 607251 dated 9.2.2008 and that the cost of stamp duty amounting to Rs 45 lakh was paid by Skylight "were patently false and constituted an offence under sections 417, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 also," the Khemka report says. It was a "sham transaction," he says. "...Likely that a fictitious cheque number was shown by the company with the full consent and knowledge of DLF to enable it to get legal title of land," he adds. Once Skylight Hospitality got the land title and letter of intent for grant of colony license, it got into a "collaboration agreement" with DLF Retail Developers on August 5, 2008 and received huge amounts as advance from DLF. As per the balance sheet of Skylight Hospitality, it received advances of Rs 25 crore from the DLF Group towards the JV and land accounts during 2008-09. "This funding from the DLF Group was used to clear the dues of Rs 7.95 crore, ie, Rs 7.5 crore towards cost of land plus Rs 45 lakh towards stamp duty," Khemka says in his report. "The motive of the sham transactions was to corner the huge market premium accruing on account of the commercial colony license. The modus operandi suggests that the payment to M/s Onkareshwar Properties for land and stamp duty costs amounting to Rs 7.95 crore would have been made immediately after the 5th August, 2008, the date the 'collaboration agreement' was executed by M/s Sky Light Hospitality with M/s DLF Retail Developers, so as to avoid any legal complications which the management of M/s DLF Retail Developers could have landed into with its shareholders and independent members on its Board of Directors," he adds. Severely indicting the state's department of town and country planning, Khemka pointed out that it granted the commercial colony licence for 2.701 acres out of a total area of 3.53 acres to Skylight Hospitality within "a mere 18 days of the application". Khemka's report has also alleged that Haryana "lost crores of revenues in the form of stamp duty due to non-registration of the collaboration agreement" between Vadra's firm and DLF, and the department has "aided and abetted the loss of crores of revenues to the state exchequer".
TNN | Aug 11, 2013,

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