The former Haryana Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda is in ” trouble” as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet under Section120-B read with 420, 471 of IPC and Sections 13(1)(2) read with 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and substantive offences thereof in the Court of Special Judge, CBI Cases in Panchkula (Haryana) near here.
The chargesheet has been filed against 34 accused including Mr.Hooda, the then Principal Secretary to Chief Minister (an IAS officer, now retired); the then Additional Principal Secretary / Principal Secretary to Chief Minister (an IAS officer, now Retired); the then Director, Town & Country Planning; the then District Town Planner (Head Quarter) Town & Country Planning; a Director of Rajokri, New Delhi based Infrastructure private company; other private builders, 23 land owning companies of private builders and other persons in the case relating to land scam in District Gurgaon.
The premier investigating agency had registered the case on September 15,2015 and took over the investigation of FIR No.510 dated August 12, 2015 registered U/s 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 & 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and U/s 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, at Police Station Manesar, District Gurgaon (Haryana) on the request of Haryana Government.
It was alleged that Government of Haryana had issued notification U/s 4 on August 27,2004 and U/s 6 on August 25, 2005, of Land Acquisition Act for the acquisition of land measuring about 912 acres for setting up an Industrial Model Township in the Villages at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula in District Gurgaon. It was further alleged that after the notification u/s 4 of Land Acquisition Act, the private builders in conspiracy with certain public servants of Haryana Government including important functionaries and others had purchased around 400 acres land from the farmers and landowners of village Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula, District Gurgaon at throwaway prices, under the threat and false apprehension of acquisition by the Government, during the period August, 2004 to August, 2007.
As a result of the said criminal conspiracy, a large number of landowners, in haste, had sold about 350 acres of land at throwaway rates of Rs.20/25 lakh (approx) per acre. It was also alleged that when some land was not sold by the farmers, the Government issued notification u/s 9 of Land Acquisition Act and, thereafter, the private builders had purchased another 50 acres (approx) land at the rate of even Rs.1.50 crore (approx) per acre. It was further alleged that when the said properties had been grabbed from the landowners by land mafia under the threat of acquisition at meagre rates, an order was passed on August 24, 2007, releasing this land from the acquisition process.
Further, this land was released in violation of the government policy, in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original landowners. Land measuring more than 400 acres, whose market value at that time was above Rs. 4 crores (approx) per acre, totalling about Rs. 1600 crore (approx) was thus allegedly purchased by the said conspirators from the innocent landowners for only about Rs. 100 crore (approx). This caused an alleged loss of more than Rs.1500 crore to the landowners of Village Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula of District Gurgaon.
The investigation has revealed that after the notification u/s 4 of LAA, private builders and other persons had purchased around 459 acres of land from the villagers under the threat and apprehension of acquisition by the government. It was alleged that they had then applied for the grant of licences, for development of Group Housing Colonies and other projects, to the Department of Town & Country Planning, Haryana. The officials allegedly deferred the announcement of the award with regard to the acquisition of land despite the fact that the private builders were not eligible for grant of licences because they had purchased the land after notification u/s 4 of LAA. In order to make them eligible for grant of licences, the public servants allegedly abandoned the acquisition process and passed such order on August 24, 2007.
The investigation has also revealed that this decision was taken on a representation given by a private builder, which contained the alleged forged signatures of few villagers. Thereafter the licences and CLUs were allegedly granted to the same private builders on land measuring 260 acres (approx) who had earlier purchased the land at throwaway prices during the State induced panic selling.
This development, political observers feel, has come as a big setback to Mr.Hooda as he is in the midst of a “struggle” to “wrest control” of the Haryana unit of the Congress from the other group led by Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Tanwar.