Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 33 others have been chargesheeted by the CBI in a case of alleged corruption in Manesar land deals worth over Rs 1,500 crore, in which around 200 farmers were cheated, an agency spokesperson said on Friday.
The CBI filed the charge sheet against Hooda and 33 others, including two retired IAS officers, at a special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the spokesperson said.
Besides Hooda, his former principal secretary Murari Lal Tayal and former additional principal secretary and former UPSC member Chattar Singh — both retired IAS officers, former Director of Town and Country Planning Sudeep Singh Dhillon and then District Town Planner (HQ) Jaswant Singh have also been charged, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
Twenty-nine builders and companies have also been named in the charge sheet.
Reacting to the filing of the charge sheet, Hooda said, “I have been maintaining from day one that it is a politically motivated case. My government did nothing wrong.”
The former Haryana chief minister said that he had complete faith in the judiciary.
Taking a dig at the state government, Hooda said, “It seems that the leaders in power keep on dreaming only about me with an intention to just defame me. The truth will come out.”
A CBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that the name of a relative of Hooda cropped up during its probe as one of the buyers of the land, but he has not been charged yet.
It is alleged that on August 27, 2004 and August 25, 2005, the Haryana government issued separate notifications for the acquisition of 912 acres of land for setting up an industrial model township at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages in Gurgaon.
Threatening the farmers with the government’s acquisition process, builders allegedly purchased around 459 acres from farmers at prices in the range of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre to Rs 1.50 crore per acre, the CBI has alleged.
Around 350 acres of land were bought at throwaway price of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre, while another 50 acres at the rate of even Rs 1.50 crore (approx) per acre, it said.
In 2007, the builders allegedly gave a plea in the office of the then chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, seeking withdrawal of the acquisition process which was done two months later on August 24, the CBI has alleged.
The CBI claimed that the government allegedly cited frivolous grounds such as the shape of land not being appropriate for acquisition and many properties being under litigation to keep the land out of the acquisition process.
“Further, this land was released in violation of the government policy, in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original land owners,” the CBI spokesman said.
The CBI alleged that land measuring more than 400 acres, whose market value at that time was above Rs 4 crore (approx) per acre, totalling about Rs 1,600 crore was thus allegedly purchased by the conspirators from the innocent land owners for only about Rs 100 crore (approx).
“This caused an alleged loss of more than Rs 1,500 crore to the land owners of village Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula of District Gurgaon,” Dayal said.
Even when the acquisition process was going on, a builder had applied for licence to develop group housing colonies and other projects, to the Department of Town and Country Planning, Haryana, which was an illegal act, the CBI alleged.
In the representation, the CBI investigation has found, that signatures of villagers were also there which were forged, he said.
After the representation, not only the acquisition process was stopped, 260 acres of the land were cleared for various group housing projects, the CBI has alleged.
The CBI also found that several builders had sold their lands further making windfall profits in the process.
The agency has alleged that one of the chargesheeted company had purchased 239 acres of land at Rs 169 crore and sold it for Rs 397 crore, making a profit of Rs 228 crore.
Similarly, a builder who had got licence to develop 13 acres made a profit of Rs 78 crore by selling it further. PTI