Bhupinder Singh Hooda unjustified in dropping Manesar land acquisition: CBI
About 600 acres acquired by the industries department for the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) since 2004 for creating residential and recreational utilities in the Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar, was dropped from the acquisition process in 2007.india Updated: Feb 19, 2018 15:35 IST
During its probe into the Manesar land release case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found that former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was not justified in dropping the acquisition proceedings in 2007.
About 600 acres acquired by the industries department for the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) since 2004 for creating residential and recreational utilities in the Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar, was dropped from the acquisition process in 2007. The CBI accused Hooda and his aides of dropping acquisition proceedings to help real estate builders. It is said that the builders forced farmers to sell land at throwaway prices under threat of acquisition.
Hooda, who has been named as an accused in the CBI chargesheet, said on February 2 that the case was politically motivated and his government had done nothing wrong.
The central agency investigating the reasons for dropping the acquisition proceedings wrote in its chargesheet, which has been exclusively accessed by HT, that four grounds were cited by the then chief minister in his August 24, 2007, orders. They are:
Hooda’s orders: Certain land parcels have been released by the government on the recommendation of the ministers’ committee separately and some of them were included in the land acquisition process.
CBI: 71 acres were released by the ministers’ committee after notification of Section 6 (declaration that land is acquired for public purpose) of the Land Acquisition Act. After excluding the 71 acres, still there were 617 acres available for acquisition.
Order: Town and country planning department has informed about several case of owners having applied for licence/CLU for the land forming part of the acquisition proceedings.
CBI: Ten applications of licences and three of change of land use (CLU) were pending on August 23, 2007, a day before the acquisition proceedings were dropped. Most of the applications were liable to be rejected and several pending ones were later rejected. Thus, it is clear that reason of pendency of licence/CLU applications was not a justified ground for the abandonment of the land acquisition process.
Order: In a number of cases, the courts have stayed the dispossession of land
CBI: There were 96 cases in which the court had stayed dispossession of 350 acres. However, there is no such previous instance of land acquisition by the industries department where acquisition has been dropped because of stay on dispossession of land by the Punjab and Haryana high court. When the high court stays the dispossession of land under acquisition, the award of the land can be announced but its possession can be taken only after the court’s decision.
Order: In these circumstances, it is difficult at this stage to firm up a view as to what would be the shape and size of the land eventually being acquired by the govt… it will not be appropriate to go ahead with these proceedings in the present form.
CBI: After exclusion of 71 acres, 617 acres was available for acquisition and development. No exercise with regard to the size and shape of the land was done while ordering dropping of acquisition proceedings and the order was passed in a hurry. In a similar case of land acquisition in Sonepat by the HSIIDC, the government had notified 885 acres for acquisition under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in October 2005 but the award was announced for 167 acres in October 2008 in scattered pockets as the licences were granted on a majority of the notified land. The ground taken in the Manesar case that it is difficult to firm up a view on the shape and size of the land eventually being acquired was not justified.
Case weakened, tweets Khemka
Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who cancelled the mutation of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s land deal in Gurgaon, tweeted on Monday: “CBI report in Manesar land scam. Few let off, prosecution witnesses. Prosecution case weakened.”
CBI report in Manesar land scam. Few let off, made prosecution witnesses. Prosecution case weakened.— Ashok Khemka (@AshokKhemka_IAS) February 19, 2018
He declined to comment further.
First Published: Feb 19, 2018 15:35 IST