Manesar land scam: CBI court opens window for arraigning more persons as accused

Amended anti-graft provision will also apply to the accused
The judge had on December 1 also summoned five additional accused who served in HSIIDC, industries and TCP departments.(HT file)
The judge had on December 1 also summoned five additional accused who served in HSIIDC, industries and TCP departments.(HT file)
Updated on Dec 07, 2020 05:00 AM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh

CBI special judge Jagdeep Singh, who had last week held that a prima facie case for framing charges is made out against former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 32 other accused chargesheeted by the probing agency in the Manesar land scam, also opened a window for arraigning more persons in the case.

In his December 1 order, the special judge said that the complainant or the accused may move such application as permissible under the law during the course of trial if evidence suggested involvement of persons or officials in the hierarchy to make out commission of offences on their part as well. Accordingly trial court may take decision as per the law, the court said.

Hooda and others have been accused of deliberately allowing land acquisition proceedings to lapse by not ensuring passing of award within statutorily prescribed period, forcing land owners to sell their holdings in panic on the threat of acquisition and issuance of various licences after abandonment of the acquisition proceedings. This, as per the CBI, caused huge loss to the state exchequer and land owners and wrongful gain to private builders, entities and accused.

The judge had on December 1 also summoned five additional accused who served in HSIIDC, industries and TCP departments. Hooda had said the framing of charges was a part of the process. “I have got full faith in judiciary. As far as this case is concerned, it is politically motivated,” Hooda had said.

Referring to the state government’s decision of January 29, 2010 to close the acquisition proceedings in view of the recommendations of an interdepartmental committee of March 26, 2008, the special judge said so far as the argument on behalf of accused that passing of impugned orders, especially January 29, 2010 order, were collective decisions but various persons/public servants, including the then industries minister in the hierarchy, have not been arraigned as accused by the CBI, is concerned.

“The entitled party to move appropriate application that is complainant, accused may move such application as permissible under the law during the course of trial if evidence suggested involvement of such persons/officials in the hierarchy, so as to make out commission of offence(s) on their part as well and accordingly trial court may take decision as per law.”

‘Anti-graft law provisions applicable to the accused’

Dismissing the plea of the accused that no case for framing of any charge under section 13(1) (d) of the Act is made out in light of a 2018 amendment pertaining to section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the CBI judge quoted a Supreme Court order.

“Whether any offence has been committed or not has to be examined in the light of the provisions of the statute as it existed prior to the amendment made effective with effect from July 26, 2018. In the instant case, it is a matter of record that challan had already been filed by the investigating agency prior to coming into effect the amended provisions of the PC Act, and the allegations pertained to the period prior to the amendment of the Act. Therefore, at this stage, it cannot be conclusively held that no case for framing of charge under section 13 (1)(d) is made out,” the court said.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021