HT Explainer: What the SC order on Manesar land deal means
The apex court’s directions to the CBI to unravel the role of middle men will mean fresh investigations into financial transactions and bank accounts of persons close to Hooda.india Updated: Mar 13, 2018 14:11 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday steered the ongoing CBI investigations on a new trajectory by setting aside the decision of Bhupinder Singh Hooda government to drop land acquisition proceedings for 688 acres in Manesar. Hitender Rao looks at the repercussions of the SC order on different players, including the former chief minister, bureaucrats and real estate developers. Monday’s verdict may open a Pandora’s box.
What implications does SC order have for ex-CM Hooda and officials — serving as well as retired?
The apex court’s directions to the CBI to unravel the role of middlemen will mean fresh investigations into financial transactions and bank accounts of persons close to Hooda, his relatives, family friends, the
officers, the real estate developers and persons who possibly acted as intermediaries in land deals. This could open a Pandora’s box.
What will be the role of the CBI from now on?
The investigating agency which has already filed a charge-sheet against former chief minister, BS Hooda and three retired IAS officers will have to conduct a fresh inquiry into the role of middlemen. This means initiating a fresh preliminary enquiry (PE) in to the matter.
How serious is “middlemen” aspect mentioned in order ?
The apex court has clearly said that record indicated that various entities including certain “middle-men” cornered unnatural gains and walked away with huge profits taking the entire process of acquisition for a ride. Substantial sums have exchanged hands in form of settlement money.
Did the apex court give an explicit example in this regard?
The SC quoted an example of real estate developer, ABW Infrastructure Limited. The developer purchased 33.5 acres and controlling stake in private companies (who had earlier bought it from land owners) with regards to two licenses (283 and 284). The land was bought from these companies for about Rs 17.70 crore and the developer also paid Rs 5.45 fee to the government. But the developer received more than Rs 150 crore by transferring the two licenses (283 and 284) to DLF Home Developers, a phenomenal earning for an applicant who reportedly paid income tax only once during past three years. ABW Infrastructure Limited paid Rs 119 crore under settlement cum cancellation of agreement to sell.
How does this raise suspicions about such transactions?
The SC said the fact that settlement money at the rate of Rs.3.50 crore per acre was made to entities which apparently had done nothing in the matter is quite shocking. Neither had these entities procured the lands from the original landholders nor were they ultimate developers who wanted to develop the property. Such entities can certainly be termed as “middle-men” who walked away with tremendous amount of money or benefit at the rate of Rs.3.50 crores per acre. Was that a mere bonanza or a deal denoting quid pro quo?
How will the order impact the real estate developers/ pvt entities?
The builders/private entities will not be entitled to recover the consideration paid by them to landholders. The sale consideration paid by the builders/private entities to landholders shall be treated towards compensation under the award and the landholders will not be required to refund any amount to them.
What’s the significance of the SC orders for the BJP govt in Haryana?
The apex court has asked the state to revisit its policy of change of land use (CLU) and grant of colonization licence in respect of land which is a subject matter of acquisition.
What will be the fate of consumers who have bought property from these builders?
The third parties from whom money had been collected by the builders will either be entitled to refund or will be allotted the plots or apartments at the agreed price or prevalent price, whichever is higher. Every such claim shall be verified by HUDA or HSIDC. In cases where, constructions have been erected and the entire project is complete or is nearing completion, upon acceptance of the claim, the plots or apartments shall be made over to the respective claimants on the same terms and conditions.