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Manesar land scam: Hooda a no-show in court; ‘admitted in AIIMS Delhi,’ says counsel

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.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2018 11:28 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
Manesar land scam,land scam,former Haryana chief minister
Hooda’s counsel SPS Parmar moved plea for personal exemption on medical grounds, claiming Hooda was admitted in All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi, due to diabetes and other medical issues.(HT File)

Citing medical reasons, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda failed to turn up in the local CBI court in connection with the Rs 1,500 crore Manesar land scam, hearing of which commenced on Thursday.

Hooda’s counsel SPS Parmar moved plea for personal exemption on medical grounds, claiming Hooda was admitted in All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi, due to diabetes and other medical issues.

Parmar told media that court had accepted his plea. The date of next hearing is May 1. Meanwhile, 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.

Gaurav Chaudhry, son of sitting Punjab and Haryana high court judge whose anticipatory bail was dismissed four days ago, did not appear as he sought medical exemption.

CBI, in its voluminous challan on February 2, had charged Hooda, his aides and realty firms with criminal conspiracy and fraud.

Few builders, who were made accused as beneficiary of this scam, were also given bail. Their names are not immediately known. The Rs 1,500-crore alleged scam pertains to misuse of the Land Acquisition Act. .

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government under Om Prakash Chautala has announced that 912 acre land will be acquired for facilities in the Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar, in August 2004, just before the Congress came to power in Haryana under Hooda.

However during Hooda’s government , a large number of farmers, in haste, sold 350 acres at throwaway prices of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre, fearing poor compensation.

Another 50 acres were purchased by land sharks even as the government issued a notification for Rs 1.5 crore per acre of compensation. Gurgaon-based realty firm, ABW Group, and other builders bought 459 acres in total through distress sale.

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. Soon after coming to power in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime had ordered a CBI probe in 2015.

ABW Group’s owner Atul Bansal, the CBI claimed, was the major beneficiary and was among the accused asked by the court to appear in person. Bansal too sought medical exemption.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 12:36 IST