CBI files chargesheet against Hooda, Vora in AJL land allotment deal case
New Delhi, Dec 1. The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a chargesheet against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Senior Congress leader Motilal Vora in a case related to the re-allotment of a plot in Panchkula to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald newspaper.
The CBI in its chargesheet alleged that Hooda, in conspiracy with Vora, had abused official position and dishonestly re-allotted the institutional plot in Panchkula to AJL at old rate and caused wrongful gain of approximately Rs 67.65 lakh to the private company and corresponding wrongful loss to the government exchequer.
The chargesheet was filed before a Special CBI Judge in Panchkula Court in Haryana. The chargesheet named Hooda, the company AJL and its chairman Vora as accused in the case.
The agency has formally charged the accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), Section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act for committing criminal misconduct and obtaining pecuniary advantages.
A case was registered on April 5 2017 on the request of Haryana Government by the CBI which has also taken over the investigation of First Information Report dated May 5 2016, earlier probed by State Vigilance Bureau of Panchkula.
On August 24 1982, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) allotted a plot in Panchkula to AJL for publishing a Hindi Daily Newspaper, "Nav-Jivan".
"The Estate Officer of HUDA on October 30 1992 resumed the said plot, as the said private company (AJL) failed to carry out the construction as per the terms and conditions of allotment," CBI said.
"AJL had been given ample opportunities for completion of construction at the site."
But the land was left unused and AJL did not publish any newspaper from that plot. It was further alleged that the plot was instead mortgaged by the private company to Syndicate Bank, New Delhi, and the loan availed of against the mortgage of the plot was used for commercial purpose.
AJL filed an appeal against the resumption order, which was dismissed by the Chief Administrator, HUDA, Panchkula on July 26 1995.
Thereafter, the AJL challenged the July 26 1995 order before the Finance Commissioner and Secretary, Haryana, Town and Country Planning Department, but the same was also dismissed on October 10 1996.
"The Legal Remembrancer, Haryana had given legal opinion that the resumed plot could not be re-allotted, since the order had attained finality, after the dismissal of the revision petition filed by the AJL," the CBI said.
During the investigation, it was revealed that then chairman HUDA, Hooda allegedly overruled the opinion of Legal Remembrancer, Haryana and the proposal of the officials of HUDA for floating new advertisement for the allotment of the institutional plot at the prevalent current rate on flimsy grounds.
CBI said that Hooda has misused his official position by wrongly ordering for re-allotment of the plot at old rates plus interest to the AJL on August 28 2005. Hooda has served as the Chief Minister of Haryana from 2005 to 2014.
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