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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

188 defence officers among 325 booked in HUDA plots scam: HC told

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 23, 2013
First Published: 15:27 IST(23/10/2013) | Last Updated: 15:28 IST(23/10/2013)

The Haryana Police have registered 325 first-information reports (FIRs), including 188 against defence officers, against 379 complaints for fraudulently possessing more than one authorised Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) plots in reserved category by filing bogus affidavits.

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Furnishing the information in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday, the state government submitted that it had constituted a five-member committee to investigate into the multiple plot allotments in all 14 reserved categories. The court headed by justice Daya Chaudhary was informed that in the meantime, HUDA banned further transfer/sale of plots in reserved categories till further orders so that controversial plots could not be further sold at throwaway prices.

Advocate general Hawa Singh Hooda assured the court that no criminal action would be taken against those whose names had appeared in the FIRs till the next date of hearing, provided they assisted the state authorities in the investigation.

It was submitted that a public notice had been published in newspapers about the 379 complaints and multiple plot owners included war widows, dependants of freedom fighters, advocates, government employees, among others.

COURT ORDER

Justice Daya Chaudhary ordered HUDA chief administrator AK Singh to file a status report by December 4 after considering the allotment of plots in two reserved categories having the highest number of allotments. It was directed that henceforth the state government would file status reports on a monthly basis. Appreciating the efforts of the HUDA chief administrator for taking action in the case, the court made it clear to the advocate general to ensure that Singh was not transferred during the case’s pendency.

The court recorded Singh’s statement that in case HUDA officials would be found involved in illegal allotments, appropriate action would be taken against them. The officer submitted that it would take around six months to investigate into the case. The court, however, refused to take the government affidavits on record and directed to file in the court registry.

OVER 50% ‘FRAUDULENT ALLOTTEES’ DEFENCE OFFICERS

The HUDA chief administrator informed the court that of the 325 multiple plot allottees who were booked, 188 were defence officers — making them more than 50% of the illegal allottees. On this, the court remarked, “If defence officers are filing false affidavits, the country is not safe in their hands.”

At the same time, the court said illegal allotments couldn’t be done without the involvement of HUDA officers. “How can you (HUDA) distribute multiple plots like this to an individual. It is a public property,” justice Chaudhary said.

NOW, APPLY ONLINE FOR HUDA PLOTS

AK Singh submitted that that to check the fraudulent practice, now onwards only online submission of applications would be made and thus half-filled applications would be automatically rejected. He also submitted that HUDA was going to amend the format of the affidavit to be submitted by the applicant which would require full name of the applicant, date of birth, among other things, so that multiple allotment of plots could be checked.

The chief administrator said that as per a policy, there was 15% reservation for Scheduled Castes in HUDA plots, 8% each for defence officers and government servants, 5% for advocates and thus there were 14 reserved categories which would now be investigated.

TC GUPTA OWNS ONE HUDA PLOT?

One of the counsels submitted, “It is mentioned in the (voice recording of a conversation between complainant and accused defence officers) the transcript that TC Gupta (former chief administrator, HUDA) owns more than one HUDA plot. His name appeared in the newspaper as well. But this is not true.” When the counsel requested the court to take the affidavit on record, the court refused, stating: “He (Gupta) is not a party and that is yet to be examined.”

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