The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet against former Haryana chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 33 others in the multi-crore Manesar land deal case.
The CBI filed the chargesheet against Mr Hooda and 33 others, including two retired IAS officers, in a special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula district under IPC Sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Besides Mr 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. Talking to reporters here, CBI spokesman Abhishek Dayal said: “Twenty-nine builders and companies have also been named in the chargesheet”.
The former Haryana CM termed the CBI’s chargesheet as “politically motivated”. “I have been maintaining from day one that it is a politically motivated case. My government did nothing wrong. 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”, he told reporters.
It was alleged in the chargesheet 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 farmers with the government’s acquisition process, builders allegedly purchased around 459 acres from farmers at prices in the range of Rs 20-25 lakhs per acre to Rs 1.5 crore per acre, the CBI has alleged. Around 350 acres of land were bought at the throwaway price of Rs 20-25 lakhs per acre, while another 50 acres at the rate of even Rs 1.5 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 state 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 government policy, in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original landowners,” the CBI spokesman said. The CBI alleged that land measuring more than 400 acres, whose market value at that time was well above Rs 4 crores (approx) per acre, totalling about Rs 1,600 crores, was thus allegedly purchased by the conspirators from the innocent landowners for only about Rs 100 crores (approx).