The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a CBI investigation into the acquisition of 1,400 acres of land in eight villages around Gurgaon by the Congress government in 2009.
The order came from a bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M M Shantanagoudar. The court gave the agency six months to complete the probe.
Acting on a petition filed by some villagers who lost their land in the process, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had, in January 2014, quashed the notification under which it was acquired. The High Court order came as a setback to the former Bhupinder Singh Hooda government, which had issued the notification.
The villagers had argued that their land was acquired under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, which has a public purpose clause, and later transferred to private developers. The state government had subsequently released about 95 per cent of the aquired land to private groups and allotted licences for developing housing projects. The Hooda government had challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court.
Upholding the High Court order, the Supreme Court wondered how, initially, 1,400 acres of land was notified for acquisition, but the final award was passed only with respect to 87 acres on the ground.
The current BJP government in the state, under Chief Minister Manohal Lal Khattar, said it had no objection to the CBI investigating the matter. The government, however, requested the bench that the High Court observations on External Development Charges not be treated as binding as it may have a bearing on other cases.