CBI files charge sheet against ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Motilal Vora in AJL case
In the charge sheet, the CBI has alleged that the AJL was allotted the plot in Panchkula in 1982, and as no construction took place till 1992, the HUDA had subsequently taken back its possession. The same plot was re-allotted to the AJL at the original rates in 2005 by allegedly violating laid down norms.Updated: Dec 01, 2018 21:37 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora in a case of re-allotment of a Panchkula plot to Associated Journals Limited, the publisher of the National Herald newspaper.
Filed in the court of special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh, it charges Hooda, in his ex-officio capacity as Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) chairman, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
‘Abuse of official position by Hooda’
The CBI in a statement said the former chief minister, in conspiracy with others had allegedly abused his official position and dishonestly restored the institutional plot to the AJL at old rates, thereby, causing wrongful gain of approximately Rs.67.65 lakh to AJL and corresponding wrongful loss to the state exchequer.
It said that the New Delhi-based AJL was allotted plot C-17 in sector-6, Panchkula by the HUDA on August 24, 1982 for the purpose of publication of a Hindi newspaper, Navjivan. The Panchkula estate officer on October 30, 1992 resumed the plot as AJL failed to carry out the construction as per the terms and conditions of allotment. The company then filed an appeal against the resumption order which was dismissed by the chief administrator, HUDA, Panchkula on July 26, 1995.
Thereafter, the company filed a revision petition before the financial commissioner, town and country but it was also dismissed on October 10, 1996. The CBI said investigations have revealed that the resumption order of 1992 was passed by HUDA only after AJL had been given ample opportunities for completion of construction at the site. It was alleged that the said plot was instead mortgaged by AJL to Syndicate Bank, New Delhi and the loan availed against the mortgage of the said plot was used for commercial purpose.
The AJL is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders, including members of the Gandhi family.
Second charge sheet against Hooda
On November 15, Haryana governor Satyadeo Narayan Arya sanctioned the prosecution of Hooda in the case. In October, the CBI sought the state government’s approval to prosecute the former chief minister. Under the amended Prevention of Corruption Act, the investigation agency now has to take the state government’s prior sanction to prosecute a former public servant. The sanction to prosecute was only sought for Hooda by the CBI. .
This is the second charge-sheet that the CBI has filed against Hooda. The first one was filed earlier this year in a Manesar land case.
Hooda, however, recently alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had nothing to show in their achievement card except indulge in political vendetta against him.
“My decision to restore the institutional plot to AJL at old rates was within my powers as the chairman of the HUDA. The AJL had paid up the entire amount for allotment of the plot but could not do construction on it. This led to its resumption,’’ Hooda said. He further said the plot was restored after charging an interest amounting to over Rs 55 lakhs on the allotment price of Rs two lakhs. “It was a well reasoned order passed by me in exercise of powers vested in me by the HUDA Act,’’ he claimed.
No role of officials
The CBI found that the government officials had no role in the allotment of plot to AJL as they had opposed the allotment on the file.
The state Vigilance Bureau had in May 2016 booked 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.
Hindustan Times had in 2016 reported that BJP government had wrongly named the officials in the FIR registered by Vigilance Bureau. The three officials named had written on the file that fresh allotment can be made at at current allotment rates, that there was no merit in the AJL’s request for restoration and the case needs to be filed. Even the law secretary, in his opinion, had said there can be no question of re-allotment or restoration of the plot to the same allottee.
Officials had in writing opposed the restoration of the 3500 square metre plot to the AJL but were overruled by Hooda who passed a verbal order to restore it. .
The case was referred to the CBI by the state government for investigation in 2017. The CBI had registered a regular case under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), 420 (cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (misuse of official position by public servant) against Hooda, the officials and AJL.