Illegal land allotment case: ED charge-sheets Hooda, 21 others under PMLA
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 21 others, including three former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials, for alleged illegal allotment of land in Panchkula.
The case involves allotment of 14 industrial plots worth ₹30.34 crore to the acquaintances of Hooda in 2013, when he was the CM. All the plots were attached as per provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by ED in 2019.
ED, which probes financial crimes, initiated an investigation in 2015 -- after a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power -- based on a First Information Report, or FIR, by the Haryana vigilance bureau.
The FIR was subsequently transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2016, which registered a case under relevant sections and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
ED said investigations revealed that Hooda, as the then ex-officio chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), three retired IAS officers and other office-bearers of the body illegally favoured pre-selected acquaintances of the then CM by allotting them 14 industrial plots, while denying worthy applicants.
The three retired IAS officers are: Dharam Pal Singh Nagal (the then chief administrator, HUDA), Surjit Singh (the then administrator, HUDA), and Narinder Kumar Solanki (the then zonal administrator of HUDA’s Faridabad Zone).
Two other HUDA officials named in the charge sheet are: Subhash Chandra Kansal (the then chief controller of finance, HUDA) and Bharat Bhushan Taneja (the then superintendent, HUDA).
The agency said the criteria for allotment was altered 18 days after the last date of application in such a way to favour the pre-selected applicants. It added that the entire interview process was “vitiated and compromised”.
State home minister and BJP leader Anil Vij said “irregularities” committed during the Congress rule in Haryana were getting exposed through investigations. “Law of the land will take its course,” he said.