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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

CBI names former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, 3 aides in Manesar land scam

The 80,000-page chargesheet filed by the investigating agency names 34 persons, including former bureaucrats and Atul Bansal, a promoter of ABW Builders.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2018 23:05 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
CBI staff taking an almirah into the  CBI court to store the documents related to the Manesar land scam chargesheet.
CBI staff taking an almirah into the CBI court to store the documents related to the Manesar land scam chargesheet. (HT Photo)

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, three former senior government officers and executives of realty companies are among 34 people named as accused in a chargesheet the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed in the Manesar land scam before a special court in Panchkula on Friday.

The 80,000-page chargesheet names former principal secretary Murari Lal Tayal, former Union Public Service Commission member Chhatar Singh, and former IAS officer SS Dhillon -- all of whom worked in Hooda’s Congress government.

Hooda, when reached for comments, said the case is politically motivated: “Nothing wrong was done by my government.” Tayal said he had “no role in this matter at any stage except recording the orders of the CM which I did in discharge of my official duties”.

Dhillon denied any role in the scam.

The Manesar scam, which came to light in 2007, relates to allegations that Hooda’s government issued a notification for acquiring 912 acres to set up a model industrial township in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages in Gurgaon (now Gurugram) district.

The CBI alleges private builders then moved in to threaten farmers that the government would acquire their land and they should sell it to them. When the builders had bought land at throwaway prices, the government dropped its industrial township plan.

CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh directed the investigating agency to submit all the documents relating to the chargesheet--which required two cupboards to be bought--to be submitted by February 26. Dhillon, the retired civil servant, said he had never worked in the department which “acquired and released Manesar land”. “[I] did not grant a single license to builders during the acquisition process. I am unable to comprehend why I have been named by the CBI,” he said.

The CBI took over the case from the Haryana Police in 2015. Earlier, the state police had registered a case on allegations that private builders had conspired with unknown public servants to purchase 400 acres from Manesar farmers at throwaway prices under the threat of acquisition by the government between August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007. But it did not list any accused.

The CBI’s chargeesheet comes nine months after the agency questioned Hooda, who was chief minister between 2005 and 2015, in connection with the Manesar land deal in May 2017.

Promotor of ABW group Atul Bansal is named among the accused in the chargesheet.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 15:12 IST

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