Two retired Army colonels being probed as part of an investigation into allegedly fraudulent multiple allotment of plots to individuals by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had between them got as many as 31 plots.
Karan Singh Yadav and Dharam Singh Yadav, who are brothers, were allotted these plots in various urban estates of Haryana between 1998 and 2004 (including the time they were serving), documents submitted in the Punjab & Haryana High Court show.
The scam is being probed by HUDA on the orders of the court. Over 325 FIRs have been registered against beneficiaries, including 188 defence personnel, who allegedly got more than one plot in their name, or in the name of their spouse or children. The Yadavs have got an interim stay on their arrest.
The brothers claim to have been “duped” by their property dealer, S K Sharma, incidentally the “whistleblower” in the allotment scam. Owners of plots in Hisar, Gurgaon, Sirsa, Panipat, Faridabad, Rewari, Sonipat, Bahadurgarh, Narnaul and Kurukshetra, they claim they always disposed of one before moving on to another, and that it was Sharma who indulged in the alleged fraud.
“He would inform us about the allotment schemes and then get papers signed by us. The language used in the affidavit was — ‘I do not own any plot in any of the urban estates of Haryana as on date’. Since we had already disposed of the previous plot, it was not legally incorrect.
Had HUDA replied to any such beneficiary pointing out that since he had earlier taken benefit under the defence quota scheme and thus could not be allotted another plot, we would have never got such a number of plots. But HUDA never objected and Sharma kept on getting papers signed from us. I have not committed any mistake, but yes, as an officer, I stand by my signatures,” Karan Yadav told The Indian Express.
“As a matter of fact,” he added, “I only have one plot that I retained and constructed a house on. It is the same place where I am living now.”
Dharam Yadav was not available for comments.
Sharma, who went to the high court with the list of beneficiaries in 2013, says: “I collected all the information under the RTI Act and lodged several complaints with HUDA and other relevant departments, but nothing came out. Eventually, I approached the high court.”
Sharma, who calls himself an RTI activist, says he wanted to expose people misusing the scheme.
With FIRs registered against them, the Yadav brothers told the court they were not the only ones to benefit. Karan furnished a list of 171 beneficiaries who had got multiple plots in their name or in the name of their spouse or children under another reserved category scheme of HUDA — direct allotment (discretionary quota).
The HUDA began its allotment scheme in 1975 and the Yadavs got their plots under the defence quota. All the allotments are now being scrutinised. Of the 188 defence persons booked by Haryana Police, 46 managed to get three or more plots at different locations, 21 got five or more, and nine got seven or more in coveted urban estates of Haryana.
“When these people availed the benefits of the scheme, applicants under defence quota used to be less and plots were more. Thus, eventually anybody who applied got the plot,” a senior HUDA officer said. As per HUDA rules, a residential plot under the defence quota can be allotted to both serving and retired personnel.
Karan got 22 plots in his and his wife’s name. He got three plots in Gurgaon, four each in Sonipat and Panipat, five in Rewari and one each in Faridabad, Hisar, Sirsa, Kurukshetra, Narnaul and Bahadurgarh.
He sold many of these plots within months of allotment, including at least two within three months (see box).