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In fresh trouble for Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana asks CBI to probe AJL plot allotment

“We handed over the case to CBI a few days back. The agency will soon start its inquiry,” Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar told reporters Friday.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh |
December 17, 2016 4:05:18 am
 Bhupinder Singh Hooda, haryana CM, AJL plot allotment, AJL plot, indian express newss, HUDA, india news Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In fresh trouble for former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the BJP government in Haryana has handed over the inquiry into the alleged re-allotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula in 2005 to CBI.

“We handed over the case to CBI a few days back. The agency will soon start its inquiry,” Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar told reporters Friday.

AJL, then the publisher of The National Herald newspaper, was re-allotted the 3,360 square metre plot in Sector 6, Panchkula, by the previous Congress government six months after it came to power in Haryana in 2005.

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The plot was first allotted to AJL in 1982, but after the company failed to make use of it, it was resumed in 1996. On September 1, 2005, the firm sought one year’s time to start construction. This was approved by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

The Indian Express, in December 2015, was the first to report about the alleged irregularities in the re-allotment of the plot. Hooda was the chairman of HUDA when the plot was re-alloted.

In May this year, the Haryana State Vigilance Bureau registered an FIR under Sections 409, 420 and 120B of the IPC and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Hooda and four officials of HUDA. The FIR stated that the then Chairman, Chief Administrator, Administrator of HUDA and the Financial Commissioner misused their positions to give undue benefits to AJL, causing a loss to the state exchequer.

When contacted, Hooda termed it “political vendetta”. “In this case as well as the cases previously handed over to the CBI and Vigilance, the BJP government is indulging in vendetta. There is no irregularity involved in the allotment,” he said.

Hooda has been embroiled in controversies one after the other since the BJP came to power in the state.

Earlier, in July 2016, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a case against Hooda and AJL under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a disproportionate land allotment case.

In September this year, CBI conducted raids at Hooda’s residences and office in a case related to release of around 400 acres of land acquired by his government at throwaway prices from villagers in Gurgaon. The land was allegedly sold off to private builders. CBI had taken over the investigation in September 2015.

Further, in May this year, CBI lodged an FIR naming the then Chairman HUDA and 14 beneficiaries of industrial plots allotted in Panchkula in 2011. These plots were allegedly allotted at throwaway prices by changing criteria midway. Among the beneficiaries were widow of Hooda’s nephew, son of his secretary, daughter-in-law of his OSD, son of a close aide and relatives of two Congress MLAs.

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