Gurugram land release probe: CBI inching towards establishing quid pro quo between Hooda and realtors
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is trying to piece together an alleged quid pro quo between former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and real estate developers in a case pertaining to release of over 1300 acres of Gurgaon land from acquisition process and grant of colonisation licence to realtors during the Congress rule between 2009- 12.
The probe agency, which had registered a criminal case against the former chief minister and 15 real estate developers, recently came under fire from the Supreme Court for seeking indefinite time to complete the investigations. The agency, which conducted a preliminary enquiry (PE) on the apex court orders, had prima facie established irregularities in the release of land from the acquisition process.
On Tuesday (July 9), the CBI conducted searches at the office of a real estate company, M/s Krrish Buildtech Private Limited in New Delhi, an accused in the case and recovered incriminating documents.
A CBI spokesperson said the agency got hold of 10 incriminating documents from the Jasola office of the real estate company during the search.
Suspected Quid Pro Quo
CBI officials said that Krrish Buildtech was one of the biggest beneficiaries in the entire episode as about 130 acres, the highest among all the realtors, situated across four villages of Nangli Umrapur, Kadarpur, Ulhawas and Maidawas was released from the acquisition for them by the then Congress government.
CBI sources, seeking anonymity, said that Kanta Katyal, who is the wife of Krrish Group chairman Om Prakash Katyal, had transferred a 1,700 sq feet apartment (number 503) in Silver Arch Apartments on New Delhi’s plush Firoz Shah road to Hooda’s daughter- in-law, Hemsweta Mirdha, on June 18, 2010 for about Rs 80 lakh. The registration of the sale deed was done through Kanta Katyal and she was holding an agreement to sell and power of attorney when the property was sold to Mirdha. The agency is investigating why this apartment in Lutyen’s Delhi was sold to Mirdha at such a low market price. Mirdha also owns another apartment (number 505) in the same building.
Amit Katyal, son of OP Katyal and a director in the Krrish Group, refuted the allegations of a quid pro quo. “The Firoz Shah Road apartment was a leasehold property we bought for Rs 60 lakh. And we sold it at Rs 80 lakh through a broker as we wanted to shift our office being run from that apartment. So the allegations of us selling at a lower price to get a return favour from the Congress government are absolutely baseless,” Katyal said.
He also said they were not the majority stakeholders in Krrish Buildtech. “The company is now called Brahma City. In fact, we only have 24% stake in it. The CBI during search at my Jasola office took away income tax returns and land purchase related documents,’’ Katyal said.
Hooda too dismissed the allegations. “It’s absolutely false. There was no quid pro quo. We submit income tax returns and everything is documented. Whatever my son Deepender and his family own is on the record. There are no irregularities. The CBI had also raided my residence in January,’’ Hooda said when asked about quid pro quo allegations.
The CBI in its preliminary enquiry had tried to establish a nexus between the government functionaries and real estate companies, including Krrish Buildtech. The first information report (FIR) said Krrish Buildtech (now M/s Brahma City Pvt Ltd) had dishonestly and fraudulently applied for a licence in 2010 on the basis of inadequate documents — defective ante-dated collaboration agreements, general power of attorney and managed to get it for about 151 acres. It also came to light that the real estate company applied for the licence after entering into an agreement with another realtor, Gupta Promoters. “Gupta Promoters entered into collaboration agreements with land owners for around 30-35 acres at the rate of about Rs 2.20 crore per acre. After agreement with Krrish Buildtech, Gupta Promoters transferred the said land to the former for an amount of Rs 3 crore per acre,’’ the FIR said.
The land release episode
The Congress government had in June 2009 issued a notification under Section 4 to acquire 1,407 acres for developing residential sector 58-63 and commercial sector 65-67 in Gurgaon by the HUDA.
The land sought to be acquired covered eight villages - Badshapur, Behrampur, Nangli Umrapur, Tigra, Ullahwas, Kadarpur, Ghatta and Maidawas of Gurgaon. However, while issuing the declaration under Section 6 on June 2, 2010, the total area was reduced to about 800 acres. Finally, the award dated May 29, 2012 was passed for 87 acres only.
The FIR registered said that initiation of land acquisition process compelled landowners to sell their land to real estate developers at a lower price and colonisers fraudulently obtained letter of intents on the notified land, causing loss to land owners and corresponding wrongful gain to themselves. The FIR also said that with a view to compel the land owners who did not want to sell their land, the real estate developers managed to get land acquisition process initiated.