New Delhi: A day after an FIR was registered against Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Robert Vadra, son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in connection with alleged 2008 Gurugram land deal case, the Congress party on Sunday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a ‘vicious and malicious witch-hunt’ by filing cases against them. Issuing a statement, the Congress party alleged that it was being done to divert attention from the corruption saga of Rafale deal, demonetisation, Rs 12 lakh crore loot through hike in fuel prices, failure to create two crore jobs every year, rapidly falling rupee and failing economy and complete failure of the BJP government. Also Read - MP Police Detains Digvijaya Singh, Uses Water Canons to Disperse Congress Workers Protesting Against Farm Laws | Watch

“As elections to the four States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram along with the General Elections, 2019 draw near, the ‘Fake News Factory’ and ‘Dirty Tricks Department’ of Modi Government-BJP act maliciously in pursuit of their vicious propaganda, “Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said. Also Read - Breaking News: Fire Breaks Out in Delhi's Uttam Nagar, 15 Fire Tenders Rushed to Spot

Coming down heavily on the govt, he further asserted,”To divert attention from the corruption saga of ‘Rafale Deal’, the scam of ‘Demonetisation’, the 12 lakh crore ‘Loot’ through hike in prices of petrol/diesel, the failure to create 2 crore jobs every year, the rapidly falling rupee and failing economy and complete failure of governance of PM Modi-BJP Government; a new set of ‘manufactured lies’ is being served through false and fake FIRs against political opponents.” Also Read - Rajasthan Congress MLA Gajendra Singh Shaktawat Dies at 48

Denying any wrongdoing, Surjewala said,”Clear facts available in public domain are that Skylight Hospitality Private Limited of Mr. Robert Vadra purchased a small piece of land measuring 3.5 acres on 28.01.2008 in the notified commercial zone of Village Sikohpur, Gurgaon, Haryana through a registered sale-deed for Rs.7.95 crore including stamp duties as per the prevailing collector rate. In accordance with the prevailing government policy for grant of licence, a commercial licence for 2.5 acres was granted on 15.12.2008.”

“Commercial colony licence charges of Rs.7.43 acore and renewal charges of Rs.73 lakh were also paid. Thus, total amount paid for purchase of land and statutory charges comes to Rs.16.11 crore. After a lapse of nearly 5 years, this land was sold by Skylight to DLF for Rs.58 crore on 18.09.2012. Even on this amount, Skylight/Mr. Vadra paid an additional tax of Rs.8 crore. Thus, a total amount of Rs.24.11 crore (16.11 Cr+8 Cr) was paid in statutory charges/taxes against the receipt of sale price of Rs.58 crore. Even the licence remains valid till date and has not been cancelled on account of violation of any rule or law or policy for grant of licence. The entire allegations are, thus, false and fabricated on the face of it,” he added.

“Malice of PM Modi-BJP Government is apparent from the fact that various governments in Haryana, including BJP and BJP-Lok Dal Governments, have issued licences for 33,697.57 acres of land, including over 11,000 acres in Gurgaon alone. BJP and Khattar Government are spreading canards against Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Robert Vadra qua a small licence for merely 2.7 acres out of total licences running to over 11,000 acres in Gurgaon on account of sheer malafides,” Surjewala stated.

Defending Vadra and Hooda, Surjewala then said,”Khattar Government of Haryana has itself given numerous licences of over a few thousand acres for change of land use to commercial-residential-institutional etc. in the last more than 4 years between 2014-18. If grant of a licence is wrong, as is being alleged in the FIR, should a similar FIR then be not lodged against Manohar Lal Khattar and others for giving commercial and other licences under the same policy? On assuming power, BJP Government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar constituted a ‘Commission of Enquiry’ under The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 known as ‘Justice S.N. Dhingra Commission’ on 14.05.2015. Dhingra Commission was asked to look into the purchase of Sikohpur land measuring 3.5 acres by Skylight Hospitality Private Limited of Mr. Robert Vadra and grant of licence to it by the then Congress Government. This Commission of Enquiry submitted its report on 31.08.2016. Former Chief Minister, Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others have challenged this report in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On 23.11.2016, Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the report and the matter is now fixed for final arguments.”

Calling it a panic reaction on verge of losing power, the Congress party alleged,”Knowing that the illegalities and malice of dirty tricks department of BJP will not be served as the majesty of law will prevail, they are seeking to preempt the judgment of the High Court by registering an FIR after nearly five years without any basis or foundation. This is a panic reaction by a government, which is on the verge of losing power in Haryana as also at the Centre, besides the four poll-bound States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. People of India as also people of Haryana have seen through this game of vicious and malicious witch hunt by a failed Prime Minister (Modi) and a failed Chief Minister (Manohar Lal Khattar). Such propaganda of vilification and persecution will never succeed.”