In Haryana CM’s constituency, private hotel comes up on govt land
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In Haryana CM’s constituency, private hotel comes up on govt land

Shifting responsibility: The Haryana government depts pass the buck as five-storeyed building worth crores nears completion.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2018 16:30 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Karnal
Manohar Lal Khattar,Haryana,CM’s constituency
The five-storeyed hotel at Namaste Chowk along the Grand Trunk Road. The property’s market value is Rs 55 crore. (HT Photo)

A private hotel is being built illegally on Haryana government land in Karnal, the constituency of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Official documents show though government officials are in the know that the five-storeyed hotel is nearing completion. The construction of another unit adjoining the hotel spread over 3.42 kanals at Namaste Chowk along Grand Trunk Road is also in full swing. This despite the matter reaching the offices of the prime minister, chief minister and chief secretary.

The hotel is 200 metres from the HSIIDC’s Karnal office and falls within the municipal corporation’s jurisdiction. As per the district collector’s commercial property rate (Rs 66,500 per sq yard), the cost of this 2,057 square yards plot is Rs 13.68 crore. The market rate, real estate agents say, is four times more than the collector’s rate and that means this land is worth nearly Rs 55 crore.

In its letters to departments between September 2015 and March 6, 2018, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) refers to this hotel as “illegal construction and encroachment/unauthorised possession of HSIIDC land” by Vishal Gupta of Karnal.

Gupta, who is into the business of publication, real estate and event management, admits that his hotel is an unauthorised construction. “In the absence of any clear policy, a majority of commercial establishments in Karnal are unauthorised,” says Gupta, who is close to one of Khattar’s officers on special duty.

“This is an unauthorised construction on land the HSIIDC acquired in 2005. Gupta illegally bought the land after the acquisition was over,” says Rajbir Singh, the HSIIDC’s senior manager in Karnal.

“I have spent more than Rs 10 crore on building this hotel. The CM is aware of this issue. My plea seeking release of this land from the ambit of acquisition is pending in the court. I started construction after the high court ordered status quo on possession in January 2016. The court has not stopped me from building this hotel,” Gupta says.

Land and lacunae
  • May 30, 2005: Process to acquire 26 acres of Karnal town concludes
  • June 8, 2005: Vishal Gupta, owner of hotel, buys 907 square yards after acquisition
  • May 18, 2009: Gupta buys second part of 1,150 sq yards on power of attorney.
  • Sept 2015: HSIIDC gets letter from Gupta to remove seal from property in its possession
  • Jan 15, 2016: Gupta obtains status quo on possession from high court; starts constructing hotel
  • Jan 27, 2016: HSIIDC registers FIR against Gupta and starts sending letters to different departments to stop illegal construction

Illegal building

“He cannot construct,” the HSIIDC officer says. The HSIIDC initiated contempt of court proceedings against Gupta in May 2016. The case is pending.

A Delhi-based Haryana government’s law officer says: “Any construction on the land after the high court interim order to maintain status quo regarding possession is illegal.”

Since the hotel construction began in early 2016, the HSIIDC, chief town planner, Karnal deputy commissioner (DC), district town planner, municipal corporation commissioner and superintendent of police have been exchanging letters about this illegal construction frequently.

In a July 2016 letter to DC Karnal, the HSIIDC listed out 15 steps taken since September 2015 to stop the illegal construction.

As per another letter of February 7, 2018, marked to different departments, HSIIDC listed 19 steps taken to stop the illegal construction, saying: “The FIR is registered against Gupta...police cancelled it in April 2016... information was sent to the chief town planner, DC and SP and the HSIIDC headquarters in Panchkula. Gupta did not stop construction and reminders were issued to police. This shows that this office took every possible step to stop the illegal construction on the land in dispute.”

Feigning ignorance

Karnal DC Aditya Dahiya said: “I am not aware about this issue.” But documents show that the MC commissioner wrote to the DC on January 23. “Since the unauthorised construction falls under the jurisdiction of the HSIIDC, the MC commissioner vide her order dated January 16 has decided that action in this matter is being taken by the HSIIDC and no action is required to be taken at the corporation’s level,” the commissioner wrote.

In another letter to the Karnal MC commissioner and HSIIDC, with a copy to the DC, the Karnal district town planner on December 20, 2017 wrote, “...No action is to be taken by this office as this site falls in the controlled area within the extended limits of the Karnal MC. So, you are requested to take necessary action.”

The official records reveal how departments expected to raise the red flag and stop the illegal construction were absolving themselves of the responsibility by asking other departments to act or suggesting that the HSIIDC take action.

In its letters, the HSIIDC says: “This office has taken every step to stop illegal construction on the land in dispute though this land was never transferred by the land acquisition collector to the HSIIDC.”

Revenue records show the land in Gupta’s name on March 28, 2006 but two years later, the mutation entry shows HSIIDC as the owner. “The records were manipulated,” says Gupta.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 11:38 IST