Charges of wrong doing and corruption have come thick and fast, forcing Congress leaders to seek covers; legal and political. Its opponent both the ruling BJP and the main opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal are having merry good time. Most of the allegations, part of the memoranda submitted twice by the INLD three years ago when the Congress was ruling are now under all sorts of probes.
A retired high court judge is enquiring into the land deals in Gurgaon of Robert Vadra, son- in- law of Congress president Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and major real estate developer, the DLF. If the enquiry establishes any wrong doing as most observers of legal matters opine, it could have ramifications for the Congress at the national level. How the BJP times it to draw maximum political mileage is to be seen but it would certainly rattle the once first family of the country. Justice Dhingra, the enquiry officer has a record of bring a tough judicial officer.
The number of enquiries runs into more than one hundred. These are either being probed by state vigilance department, the CBI or Lokayukta. In some cases, formal first information reports have been registered by the police.
Haryana Lokayukta has recommended registration of a criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against five former Haryana Congress MLAs allegedly involved in the cash for change of land use (CLU) case in 2013. These are former health minister Rao Narender Singh, former Chief Parliamentary Secretary Vinod Bhyana and MLAs Jarnail Singh, Naresh Selval and Ram Niwas Ghorela. The Lokayukta Justice (retd.) Pritam Pal has asked the state government that “a senior competent police officer enjoying the reputation of having an impeccable integrity be deputed to investigate all the cases expeditiously on all counts of allegations of corruption…” The government should submit the action taken report on his recommendations within three months. A formal FIR has now been filed.
Farmer congress minister in the Hooda government, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav has only added more trouble by accusing Hooda of having purchased the support of five MLAs in 2009 to become chief minister and his money had come from the misuse of power to change the use of land from agriculture to housing.
But troubles for former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda are multiple. He has been booked by the state Vigilance Bureau for irregularities in the allotment of 13 industrial plots. Punjab and Haryana high court has cancelled 220 industrial plots in Rohtak that were allotted by the Hooda government some six years back .The Congress party, true to form, has cried political vendetta.
It hopes the vendetta defence will gain grip because the BJP government has gone after a former chief minister. But the fact is that a chief minister had kept for himself a portfolio that was seen as ‘lucrative’ during his 10-year rules. These plot allotments prima facie smell of wrong doing, as the beneficiaries seem to be closely related to Congress leaders. Now he has to face these cases in a court of law and perhaps a long drawn battle is on cards. Former Chief Minister O.P .Chautala had claimed he was sent to jail for giving common people jobs, it found acceptance at least in some quarters. But in case of Hooda, this argument of benefit of support from a large number of beneficiaries is absent.
There are several other cases being enquired by CBI. While one relates to purchases of a pesticide Rexil by the Hooda government, other one politically more sensitive concerns wrongdoing in the re-allotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited, which once published National Herald. Hooda asserts that this was not an isolated case as similar decisions were taken in other such cases. But chief minister Manohar Lal under instructions from the BJP national leadership wants to be seen as unsparing.
Interestingly, under focused attack by the two main opposition parties, the INLD and the Congress, Manohar Lal has yet to convince the public that there was no wrong doing in the purchase of paddy and in the disbursement of compensation for crop losses. He may not be able to divert attention by booking Congress leaders as these issues concern the farmers, the backbone of economy and the politics of the state. The BJP is being seen as anti farmer , particularly after having amending the Panchayati Raj act that deprives over 60 per cent of the rural folks from contesting panchayat elections .
The Congress has already paid the price at the political level as it lost badly during 2014 assembly elections and it cannot afford to lose more if its tallest leaders are convicted for any wrong doing. The ball finally will be squarely placed in the courts and a long drawn battle by legal eagles is expected to last some years.