HT Explainer | Manesar Land scam: Hooda, aides accused of misuse of acquisition Act

It is alleged that after the acquisition process under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 started, a number of real estate developers colluded with the officials to buy 400 acres from land owners at throwaway prices by creating panic that if the land owners did not sell their land it will be acquired by the state government for a measly sum

india Updated: Feb 03, 2018 10:45 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Manesar land scam,Bhupinder Hooda,land scam
CBI staff taking an almirah into the CBI court to store the documents related to the Manesar land scam chargesheet. (HT photo)

The Manesar land release case was referred for a probe to the CBI by the BJP government in Haryana in 2015. It is one of the four land related matters pertaining to the tenure of the previous Congress government which was referred by the BJP government to the central agency for investigation. Hitender Rao dissects the controversial land matter.

What is the controversy regarding Manesar land?

The previous Congress government headed by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was involved in the process to acquire about 912 acres in Gurgaon district for creating residential and recreational utilities in Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar. The acquisition process was stopped in 2007 by the state government after a number of private real estate developers stepped in to buy the under-acquisition land from farmers under duress.

How much land was bought by the real estate developers?

It is alleged that after the acquisition process under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 started, a number of real estate developers colluded with the officials to buy 400 acres from land owners at throwaway prices by creating panic that if the land owners did not sell their land it will be acquired by the state government for a measly sum. Acting in haste and under duress, the farmers sold the land at throw away rates of around Rs 20-25 lakh per acre, totalling to about Rs 100 crore, while the market value at that time was above Rs 4 crore per acre, totalling to about Rs 1,600 crore, says the CBI.

Why the land was set free from the acquisition process?

The land, it is alleged, was released to favour the real estate developers who had bought chunks from farmers in of Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages of Gurgaon district. Once the land was free from the acquisition process, the builders applied for licences to develop real estate projects on the said land. Had it not been released from the acquisition process, the real estate developers would not have been able to use the chunk for building projects.

What was the role of the Supreme Court in the matter ?

A special leave petition (SLP) was filed in the Supreme Court in 2015 challenging the December 15, 2014, order of the Punjab and Haryana high court. The petitioners, mainly farmers, challenged the high court orders on the ground that it had failed to consider the actions of the state government as the withdrawal of notifications for acquisition were an abuse and misuse of provisions of the land acquisition Act. They also contended that it was an act to give undue benefit to builders under the garb of release of land. The state government during a hearing told the Supreme Court that it had no reservations on any kind of investigation, including a CBI probe, into the matter. The Supreme Court after concluding the arguments in the SLP had reserved the order on April 12, 2017.

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 10:44 IST