The BJP government in Haryana seems to have goofed up by registering a criminal case against top officials for allegedly restoring a Panchkula institutional plot in 2005 to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) at old rates. AJL, a company having several Congress leaders as its directors, published the now defunct National Herald newspaper.
Documents accessed by Hindustan Times reveal that officials opposed the restoration of the plot to AJL on file, but were overruled by the then chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) who passed a speaking order to restore it.
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) on May 5 had booked former chairman of HUDA Bhupinder Singh Hooda and three officials – the then chief administrator, HUDA, SS Dhillon; the then principal secretary, town and country planning, Shakuntla Jakhu and then administrator, HUDA (HQ), Vineet Garg for allegedly restoring the resumed plot.
As the file moved afresh for considering the AJL’s request, Garg endorsed the file noting of his estate officer who wrote: “In case it’s decided to restore the allotment, it shall be treated a case of fresh allotment and shall be made at the current allotment rates as decided by the Authority. Approval of chairman, HUDA will be required in the matter. Therefore, the matter shall be placed before the Authority for consideration and decision.”
Dhillon, while referring to dismissal of AJL’s appeal and revision plea against the resumption orders and the fact that no further appeal laid in matter, wrote on May 2, 2005: “There is no merit in the request and the case needs to be filed.” His view was endorsed by Jakhu.
The matter, however, was not set to rest. The then additional principal secretary to CM (APSCM), Chhatar Singh wrote that the CM has directed that the possibility of restoring the allotment of plot at current rates may be examined. Subsequently, the then estate officer, HUDA, Panchkula, SP Arora asked chief finance controller (CCF) HUDA to suggest the current rate of allotment. The CCF proposed the current institutional rate of allotment at `3,200 per square yard.
HUDA CA wrote that proposal of allotment of site at current rates of `3,200 per square yard will be in relaxation of the laid down policy. Principal secretary, TCP, subsequently wrote that since the allotment policy was approved by the cabinet, the relaxation will have to be given by cabinet. The proposal, however, was shelved.
LAW SECRETARY ALSO OPPOSED
APSCM on July 4, 2005 wrote that file be resubmitted for orders of CM after obtaining legal opinion with regards to AJL’s contention that the site be restored to them. The HUDA district attorney said that allotment cannot be restored as per HUDA policy and this case can be considered after amending the policy.
The Legal Remembrancer in his opinion held: “The revision petition having been dismissed way back in 1996, the order of resumption has attained finality. There can thus be no question of re-allotment or restoration of the plot to the same allottee. If, however, the provisions of the policy allow, fresh allotment at prevalent rates can be made as per procedure for allotment of institutional sites.”
The HUDA CA on August 18, 2005 wrote on the file: “The legal opinion may kindly be seen… The said plot can be advertised and AJL can apply against this plot.” His view was endorsed by PS, TCP.
1982: AJL allotted 3,500 sq m institutional plot in Panchkula
1992: AJL failed to construct, plot resumed by estate officer, HUDA
1995: AJL’s appeal against resumption dismissed by HUDA administrator
1996: AJL’s revision plea before TCP secretary dismissed
May 2005: AJL requests restoration of plot, move opposed by officers
August 2005: Law secretary concurs with officers, Hooda as HUDA chairman re-allots the plot at original rates