A special court in Panchkula Wednesday granted bail to former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora in a money laundering case related to allotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) here.
Granting interim bail to the two leaders till November 6, the next date of hearing, Special Judge Jagdeep Singh also issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate, seeking its response on their regular bail pleas in the case, said an advocate representing Hooda.
He said the court granted the bail subject to each of the two leaders furnishing a bond of Rs 5 lakh and surety of the same amount each.
Publisher of the National Herald newspaper, the AJL is run by Young Indian, which is controlled by the Gandhi family. The ED in August had filed the prosecution complaint against Hooda, Vora and the AJL under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED, in a statement, had said the AJL, Vora and Hooda “were directly involved in the process or activity connected with acquisition, possession or projection of Proceeds of Crime i.e. Plot No.C-17, Sector 6, Panchkula to the tune of Rs 64.9 crore”.
Vora, a Rajya Sabha member, is a Congress general secretary while Hooda has been Haryana chief minister for two terms between 2005 and 2014.
On Wednesday, the counsel representing Hooda and Vora contended that they have cooperated with the investigating agency since the beginning and the case predominantly rests on documentary evidence, which is in possession of the ED. The advanced age of the accused was also cited as a ground for seeking bail.
“Hooda, the then CM, Haryana/chairman HUDA, blatantly misused his official position and dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh… in violation of necessary conditions vide an order dated August 28, 2005,” as per the ED.