Having lodged a criminal case in questionable allotment of coveted industrial plots in Panchkula’s Industrial Estate under the then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government in Haryana, CBI teams raided multiple premises in different cities Saturday.
Among others, the FIR lodged on May 16 names then chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) — or Hooda, the CM being ex-officio chairman of the Authority. Calling it “political vendetta” by the BJP government, Hooda said, “I have done nothing wrong. None of my premises, including those in Rohtak, have been searched by CBI yet. I don’t know about others.”
The raids were conducted at 16 locations in Chandigarh, Panchkula, New Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Karnal and Kurukshetra, including residences of some of the accused.
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Besides the then HUDA chairman, the FIR has been lodged against 14 beneficiaries of the plots, three former bureaucrats and unknown officials of HUDA and the state government. The criminal case has been lodged on charges of destruction of evidence, cheating, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, criminal conspiracy and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. The former bureaucrats booked by CBI are D P S Nagal, then Chief Administrator, HUDA; S P Kansal, then Chief Financier, HUDA; and B B Taneja, then Deputy Superintendent, HUDA.
The Indian Express had first reported on October 19, 2013 about the alleged irregularities in allotment of industrial plots to those allegedly linked to the then chief minister, including the widow of his nephew, son of his secretary, daughter-in-law of his OSD, and son of a close aide. According to records, the beneficiaries also included relatives of two Congress MLAs at the time and the daughter-in-law of a High Court judge.
The allotments were made by HUDA in July 2013 and approved by Hooda, as the Authority’s chairman, on recommendation of a standing committee.
The industrial plots, ranging from 496 square metres to 1,280 square metres, were allegedly allotted at throwaway prices after changes were made midway in the eligibility criteria.
On December 19, last year, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had ordered the state vigilance bureau to register a case and refer the matter to CBI for further investigation.
On Saturday, a CBI team went to Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal’s house in Sector 3, Chandigarh. Calling it a “ploy to browbeat members of opposition”, Dalal, who claimed to be in Delhi, said: “They asked for the door to be opened…My servants told the team they could come in, but they stood outside for two hours. In Palwal, they went to the SP’s office and did not go to my house.