EVEN AS the Haryana government is yet to order a probe into the allotment of prime land to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula, state Cabinet minister Anil Vij Thursday lashed out at former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, alleging that he had “favoured” the Gandhi family by making the allotment.
The Indian Express was the first to report allotment of 3,360 square metre land to AJL in Sector 6, Panchkula, by Hooda barely six months of taking over as CM in 2005.
Vij told The Indian Express that the plot was first allotted to AJL in 1982, when the Congress was in power in Haryana with Bhajan Lal as the chief minister. “However, the plot was later resumed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority. AJL fought a legal battle but lost after exhausting all legal options to reclaim the plot. The rate at which the plot was given to AJL was Rs 91 per square metre.”
Vij added, “Going by HUDA norms, AJL had lost all claims on the plot. But surprisingly, after Hooda came to power, the same was again allotted to AJL at old rates. Despite the fact that all officers concerned, in their notings on the file, recorded their observations against it, Hooda overruled all and allotted the plot to AJL at the old rates. It is a clear case of favouritism that needs to be investigated.”
“Hooda himself signed the order of allotment on the file. He even mentioned that he had received a representation from Moti Lal Vora, the then chairman of AJL and thus the plot be allotted to AJL at the same old rate,” Vij added.
Hooda told The Indian Express, “I do not remember the exact details but as far as I can recall, I restored the plot to AJL. And it is not an isolated case. I cannot recall the file notings, but all I can say is that we did not do anything illegal.”When asked why the state government had not yet ordered a probe, Vij said, “It is a fit case that needs to be investigated, but the government takes time. The issue is being examined legally.”
Sources said Haryana Chief Secretary D S Dhesi Thursday called HUDA Chief Administrator Brijender Singh and discussed the matter.