The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday registered a case in connection with the release of about 400 acres of land acquired by the former Congress-led Haryana government at throwaway prices from villagers in Gurgaon, which were then allegedly sold off to private builders. According to the CBI, in the process, villagers incurred losses of Rs 1,500 crore.
On March 10, The Indian Express had reported that the the Haryana government, led by the BJP, is planning to probe the release of about 16,000 acres of land by the previous Congress regime from the official acquisition process after it had issued notifications to acquire them for “public purpose”.
Official figures accessed by The Indian Express showed that 2,602.58 acres of land was released by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), under the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government, in three districts: Gurgaon, Sonipat and Rohtak.
Records also revealed that a bulk of the land thus released was obtained by private real estate developers.
The CBI FIR, lodged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), mentions “unknown public servants of Haryana Government and unknown private persons” as the accused.
It is based on a case filed at Manesar police station which alleged that “private builders in conspiracy with unknown public servants of Haryana Government had purchased around 400 acres of land from the farmers and land owners of village Manesar, Naurangpur & Lakhnoula, district Gurgaon at throw away prices, under the threat of acquisition by the government, during the period of August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007.”
According to the CBI, initially, the Haryana government had issued notifications under section 4, 6 and 9 of the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land measuring about 912 acres for setting up an industrial model township at villages Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula in Gurgaon.
The CBI says on August 24, 2007, director of industries (Haryana) passed an order releasing 400 acres from the acquisition process. However, it was not restored to the original owners but released to builders, their companies and agents in violation of the government policy, said the agency.
“After that, all the land had allegedly been grabbed from the land owners by the private builders under the threat of acquisition at meager rates,” said a CBI statement.
According to CBI, this way a loss of Rs 1,500 crore was caused to the original land owners as the market value of land at that time was Rs 4 crore per acre while the entire chunk was bought by private builders for just Rs 100 crore.