Updated: April 17, 2021 6:06:16 am
A special CBI court in Panchkula Friday framed charges against Haryana’s former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) plot allotment case.
“The charges were framed against Hooda under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (party to criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a defence lawyer said. The case will now come up for hearing on May 7.
The senior Congress leader was present in the court when charges were framed.
The CBI court on Thursday had rejected an application moved by Hooda seeking discharge from the case and against the framing of charges in the case in which he and Congress leader Moti Lal Vora, who passed away recently, had been named as accused.
The CBI had in December 2018 filed a chargesheet against Hooda and Vora, then chairperson of AJL, in connection with alleged irregularities in the allotment of a plot in Panchkula’s Sector 6. The agency had then claimed that the re-allotment of the plot to AJL caused a loss of Rs 67 lakh to the exchequer.
The CBI had said that the AJL was allotted a plot of land by the Haryana Urban Development Authority in Panchkula in 1982. No construction took place on the plot for 10 years after which the HUDA took back possession of the land. In 1995, and again in 1996, appeals were filed by the AJL against resumption of plot but these were dismissed by HUDA administrator and Haryana’s financial commissioner, town and country planning. However, when Hooda became the chief minister in 2005, he allowed re-allotment of the plot to the AJL allegedly in violation of the norms.
As the CM, Hooda was the ex-officio chairperson of the authority.
The Enforcement Directorate too had been probing the case and had earlier filed its chargesheet in a case of alleged irregularities in the land allotment to the AJL. “Hooda favoured the AJL by granting them three undue extensions for construction in the said plot from May, 2008-May 10, 2012 until the AJL completed the construction in the year 2014,” the ED had earlier charged in a statement.
The agency charged that Hooda allotted the pot to AJL by “blatantly misusing his official position”.
The former CM, it alleged, “dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL at original rates plus interest in violation of necessary conditions and policy of HUDA vide order dated August 28, 2005.”
The ED had filed a criminal complaint of money laundering in this case in 2016 based on a CBI FIR, which had taken over investigation into the case at the request of the BJP government of Haryana, and criminal FIRs filed by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau.
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