HC directs CBI court to adjourn Manesar land case till after February 24
The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked the court of the Special CBI judge, Panchkula, to adjourn trial proceedings in the Manesar land case after February 24.
Taking up a petition by former Haryana IAS officer Sudeep Singh Dhillon, justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of the high court issued notice of motion to the CBI. “List again on February 24. In the meantime, the trial court is directed to adjourn the case beyond the date fixed by this court,’’ said the January 15 high court order.
Dhillon, a former director of the town and country planning department, argued before the high court that the acquisition proceedings were initiated by the industries department and, therefore, the town and country planning had no direct role to play either in the acquisition or in the decision-making process of dropping the acquisition proceedings.
The counsel for Dhillon contended that the chief secretary’s office while examining the sanction to prosecute sought by the CBI had in a file noting of January 19, 2018, exonerated him saying that his involvement in the acquisition or dropping of land acquisition proceedings in the Manesar matter have not been proved. The comments of the town and country planning and industries departments confirm this too, the petitioner said, quoting the government order.
HOODA GOVT DROPPED 600 ACRES FROM ACQUISITION
The then Congress government had in 2007 dropped about 600 acres in Manesar from the acquisition process on the orders of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The land was to be acquired for the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) for creating residential and recreational utilities in the Industrial Model Township (IMT) at Manesar.
In 2015, the CBI registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code against unknown persons on a recommendation made by the BJP government in Haryana. The investigating agency filed a chargesheet in the trial court, accusing Hooda and three former IAS officers, ML Tayal, Chhatar Singh and SS Dhillon, besides others of dropping acquisition proceedings to help real estate builders. Builders were also named as accused.
In 2018, the Supreme Court set aside the decision of Hooda government to drop land acquisition proceedings and directed the CBI to unravel the role of middlemen in the matter.