Functioning of the Haryana town and country planning (TCP) department for allegedly granting licences or change of land use (CLU) for “malicious and illegal considerations” so as to bestow wrongful gains to the “privileged builders/developers” at the cost of land owners has come under the Punjab and Haryana high court’s scanner.
Taking serious view of the petitioners’ allegations, also seeking probe from the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) or chief vigilance commission (CVC) in the functioning of the TCP department, the division bench headed by justice Surya Kant, last week, while issuing notices to the state government and other respondents directed them to file their replies.
Considering petitioners’ allegations of the TCP department's favouritism to some builders, the court also directed the TCP department not to grant further licences and CLUs to Commander Realtor, High Responsible, Mahamaya Exports and Anant Raj Industries till further court directions for their projects in Gurgaon.
Apart from the central government, the petitioners namely Pawan Bhatia, his wife Sangeeta and son Laksh, all residents of Golf Links, New Delhi, have also made CVC, TC Gupta (principal secretary TCP department), P Raghavendra Rao (financial commissioner, department of urban local bodies) and four developers as respondents in the case.
TCP’s ‘malicious’ intent in grant of licences
The petitioners have alleged that TC Gupta, while being posted as the TCP department director, had "blatantly misused his statutory authority” and infused a mechanism under which only developers were granted licences/CLUs.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Puneet Bali submitted that the malicious intent and scandalous proportions in the grant of licences could well be gauged from the fact that 90% of the licences granted during the past five years were centered around only a few companies — DLF, Countrywide Promoters, Anant Raj, Unitech, Ansals, Eldeco, TDI, Omaxe, Land Mark, MGF, M2K and M3M developers or the sister concern companies floated by these developers.
Developers backed by politicians, bureaucrats
“The said companies are largely funded by the political hierarchy or the bureaucratic set up. These companies have employed kith and kin of the higher bureaucracy by paying lavish packages only for the purposes of securing misplaced benefits at the cost of the land owners,” alleged the petitioners.
It had been noticed that proceedings for land acquisition had been initiated by the government only to be dropped after the landowners entered into settlement with the developers and agreed to either sell the land or enter into memorandum of understanding, the petitioners submitted. “In case the land owner refuses to tow the said lines, the application submitted by him is rejected by citing some frivoulous reason,” the petitioners alleged.
The petitioners had applied for grant of licence for development of a group housing colony on 13.61 acre at Ullawas village, Sector 60, Gurgaon, for which they fulfilled all norms. The petitioners alleged that though the applications submitted by the four builders had same deficiencies as of the petitioners, their (builders’) applications had been kept alive so as to issue them licences.
The petitioners’ application was rejected on November 9, 2010, by the TCP director and later on September 20, 2013, by principal secretary, urban local government department, on the ground that part of the land was purchased in shares, survey plan was not signed by architect, applied land was outside the limits of the final development plan Gurgaon-Manesar urban complex-2021 and minimum area requirement of 10 acres for independent group housing colony was not fulfilled by the petitioners.