Manesar land rip-off: CBI Courtroom orders framing of prices in opposition to Hooda, 32 others

Bhartesh Singh Thakur 

Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, December 1  

The CBI Special Court, Haryana, on Tuesday ruled for framing of charges against former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 32 others in the multi-crore Manesar (Gurugram) land scam.  

The alleged scam pertains to purchasing land from farmers at meagre rates and then earning huge profits by getting it released in connivance with bureaucrats and politicians.

CBI Special Judge Jagdeep Singh also summoned present Home Secretary Rajeev Arora besides former IAS DR Dhingra.

Summons have also been ordered against Surjit Singh, former Chief Town Planner (CTP) of Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC); Dhare Singh, former CTP, Town and Country Planning (TCP); and Kulwant Singh Lamba, former Deputy Superintendent, TCP.

There is prima facie evidence against them for criminal conspiracy, cheating and under Prevention of Corruption Act, ruled the court. 

“For Arora, who was Managing Director of HSIIDC at the time of the alleged scam, the CBI has been instructed to submit prosecution sanction from the state government,” said SPS Parmar, counsel for Hooda.

“Dhingra was Director, Industries, when scam dealings were being conducted,” Parmar added.

The court also dismissed discharge applications of former IAS officers ML Tayal and SS Dhillon and Jaswant Singh, former Chief Town Planner, Town and Country Planning.

Builder Atul Bansal, who earned maximum profits in the scam, has been declared proclaimed offender in the case. 

“The court has ruled that Hooda and other accused would face trial in the case. The actual charges to be framed for the trial would be decided in the next hearing,” said Amit Dudeja, one of the defence counsels in the case. 

Tayal, Dhillon and former IAS Chattar Singh had served as Principal Secretary to CM during the Hooda regime.

Earlier, the CBI Special Judge had ruled that since the matter pertained to case involving a legislator, “proceedings in such cases are to be conducted expeditiously”.   

The CBI had in 2018 filed a chargesheet against Hooda, Tayal, Chhattar Singh, Dhillon and others under cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and Prevention of Corruption Act in the Manesar land scam.

A notification to acquire 912 acre and 7 marla land in Manesar, Lakhnaula and Naurangpur villages in Gurugram was issued under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act – 1894 on August 27, 2004.

The CBI investigation found that after the notification, the private builders had started purchasing the land in these villages from the farmers, who were under the threat of acquisition, at throwaway rates.

The farmers were deceived under the impression that the state government would pay meagre rates for their land and builders would pay more than the compensation amount.    

According to the CBI, when all the land had been grabbed from the land owners by land mafia under the threat of acquisition, an order was passed by the Director of Industries on August 24, 2007 for releasing the land in favour of the builders, their companies and agents. 

It was also revealed that the private builders, to whom the licences or the CLUs were granted, made wrongful gains with the conspiracy of public servants and politicians, who were involved in decision making for release of land.

The next date of hearing in the case is December 17.   

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