Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda gets bail in Manesar land scam
Court granted bail after taking two surety bonds of Rs 5 lakh each. Next hearing on May 31.Updated: May 02, 2018 09:26 IST
The special CBI court granted bail to former Haryana chief minister (CM) Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday, in connection with the ₹1,500 crore Manesar land scam.
The court also allowed bail to the sitting Punjab and Haryana high court judge’s son, Gaurav Chaudhry, who is a co-accused in the case. Other accused were granted bail in last hearing on April 19.
Hooda told media outside the court that cases against him was a political vendetta by the BJP government, but said that he has full faith in the judiciary. “I will fight legal battles in court and political battles on Haryana streets to expose the real face of the ruling saffron government,” he said.
Hooda’s counsel SPS Parmar said the court granted him bail after taking two surety bonds of ₹5 lakh each. The next hearing is listed for May 31, where the matter is listed for scrutiny of challan before arguments begin on framing of charges.
Hooda, along with three of his former aides and a number of real estate firms have been charged with criminal conspiracy, fraud and corruption.
Hooda’s former principal secretaries Murari Lal Tayal and Chattar Singh and former director of town and country planning department SS Dhillon — all co-accused in the scam — were granted bail following their appearance in last hearing on April 19, even as the CBI opposed their plea.
The CBI opposed Hooda’s bail too.
Atul Bansal, promoter of a Gurgaon-based realty firm, ABW Group, whose 15 companies are named in the chargesheet as major beneficiary of this scam, is also out on bail.
Core team present in court
Hooda had failed to turn up for previous hearing on April 19, citing ‘health’ reasons. This time, he made sure to make enough noise of his appearance. His core team members including former Haryana Vidhan Sabha speaker Kuldeep Sharma, Karan Dalal, Anand Singh Dangi and Lalit Nagar were present along with Hooda’s son and Rohtak MP Deepinder Singh Hooda. Former Punjab minister Rana Gurjit Singh, who resigned after allegations of sand mining, was also seen outside court.
Kuldeep Sharma told HT that Hooda was being targeted due to his popularity. “It is not prosecution, rather a persecution. People in the state are closely watching it,” he said outside court room.
When asked about two more pending cases with the CBI where chargesheet is soon expected, Sharma said that this will not make any difference as all cases against him are false.
Meanwhile, sources in the CBI said that the challan in connection with illegal re-allotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited in Panchkula is expected in next two-three weeks.
Tuesday was Hooda’s first appearance after the CBI court summoned him and others in this case, following the chargesheet on February 1.
The Rs 1,500 crore alleged scam pertains to misuse of the Land Acquisition Act for acquisition of 912-acre land in Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar, Gurgaon.
While the acquisition was ordered in 2004 during the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government, the process began during Hooda’s government that came to power in 2005.
The Hooda government scrapped the acquisition process in 2007, only to later grant licences for housing and commercial development to the builders over 260 acres of that land who purchased land from the farmers at throw away prices.
Soon after coming to power in the state in 2015, the BJP regime had ordered a CBI probe.