Priyanka’s land deal: Himachal HC discharges officials after their unconditional apologies

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday discharged state Chief Information Commissioner Bhim Sen and Information Commissioner K.D. Batish from contempt proceedings relating to their order on summoning records of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra’s land purchase.

The officials, who were directed to remain present before the court in a contempt petition filed by Priyanka Vadra, tendered an unconditional apology to the court.

Acting on the apology, division bench of Justice Trilok Singh Chauhan and Justice P.S. Rana closed the contempt proceedings against them.

The court listed the matter for next hearing on January 7 next year.

The high court on September 11 asked the chief information commissioner why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for disobeying its orders on Vadra’s land purchase.

Vadra had alleged that despite the stay order passed by the high court in her writ petition, the information commission proceeded with the matter and had summoned the records relating to the land purchased by her.

The information commission on 23 July rapped government officials, including Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra, summoned them and the records related to the land deal on 20 August.

The government officials were facing penalty proceedings for withholding information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Earlier, the high court stayed a directive of the information commission to the government to provide information about the land purchase by Vadra.

Vadra’s cottage, just 15 km uphill of state capital Shimla, is coming up at a height of more than 8,000 feet.

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