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CBI clears 3 babus in land allotment graft case

Files closure report in court in FIR against former UT Advisor Lalit Sharma,Home Secy Krishna Mohan,Director (Tourism) Vivek Atray and Unitech

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Published: April 28, 2012 3:08:38 am

Files closure report in court in FIR against former UT Advisor Lalit Sharma,Home Secy Krishna Mohan,Director (Tourism) Vivek Atray and Unitech

After an investigation that lasted over one and a half years,the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing allegations of corruption in the allotment of land for an amusement-cum-theme park in Chandigarh has found nothing incriminating in the case against three senior officers. The CBI has filed a closure report in a local court in the FIR it had lodged against former UT advisor Lalit Sharma; ex-UT Home Secretary Krishna Mohan,former UT Director (Tourism) Vivek Atray and Unitech Builders.

The CBI questioned the three bureaucrats several times in the past two years. It also “questioned” former Punjab governor and Chandigarh administrator Gen (Retd) S F Rodrigues in connection with the case. A CBI team was sent to Goa,where the retired general now resides,for the questioning.

The CBI has in its closure report stated that during the course of its investigations,none of the allegations leveled in the complaint have been substantiated. The Bureau,sources stated,also did not find any corroborative evidence of Unitech having “dealt” with any of these officers with a view to get the allotment done in their favour.

Sources in the Haryana government added that the findings of the CBI Chandigarh team,which was investigating the case,have been ratified by another team of CBI officials in New Delhi. It is now for the court to accept or reject the closure report.

The three bureaucrats,along with Unitech MD Ajay Chandra,were booked by the CBI on October 4,2010,on charges of abuse of power and criminal conspiracy under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the penal code.

Over 73 acres of land in Sarangpur village in Chandigarh’s periphery were allotted to Unitech in December 2006 for the setting up of a world class theme-cum-amusement project. The controversial project was shelved by the Chandigarh Administration in 2010 after the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) conducted a probe into allegations of irregularities in the allotment of land to Unitech.

It was alleged that the Chandigarh Administration ignored financial rules while inviting tenders and shortlisting companies. These officers had allegedly “ignored” the highest bidder,DLF,and allotted the project to Unitech. The case had been referred to the CBI by the CVC.

The CBI was looking into the allegations of irregularities in the award of three mega projects in the city to private companies. The preliminary enquiry (PE) by the CBI into the multimedia-cum-film city project and the IT Park project also did not reveal anything and were closed after the PE. Sources added that the allotment of land for mega-projects came under the scanner following a rift between Rodrigues and Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal,who is also the Chandigarh MP.

Rodrigues retired as UT Administrator in early 2010 after completing his five-year term. Lalit Sharma retired from Chandigarh as adviser to the UT Administrator in November 2007.

Krishna Mohan,who is currently posted as financial commissioner (cooperation) in Haryana,was the home secretary in the Chandigarh administration when the allotment took place. He was the Haryana home secretary when the case was registered and had to lose the post soon after. Atray,who was then the UT director (tourism) is currently posted as additional transport commissioner in Haryana.

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