The Special CBI Court on Tuesday impleaded five officers of the Haryana government including incumbent Additional Chief Secretary (Home-cum-Health) Rajeev Arora and four others in the ongoing Manesar land scam case trial. All five have now been summoned on December 17.
Before Tuesday’s hearing, there were 34 accused facing trial. The case was slotted for hearing in court, Tuesday, for a decision on framing of charges against these 34 accused. However, one of these 34 accused, M L Tayal (principal secretary of then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda), moved an application in court citing evidence by way of which he alleged involvement of these five officers and pleaded that “they formed the chain of command at the time of crime”. Tayal demanded that these five should also be impleaded as accused, in the case.
Advocate Rahil Mahajan, counsel for another accused and retired IAS officer SS Dhillon present during the hearing of the case, said, “M L Tayal who was principle secretary to the then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has moved the application through his counsel in the court. The application has been moved on the basis of the chargesheet filed which names these five officers as witnesses and not as accused. CBI had resorted to pick and chose people and did not name everyone as accused.”
“Taking cognizance of the application moved, today, the court instead summoned the five additional accused including Rajeev Arora (ACS, Home), Desh Raj Dhingra (former Director of HSIIDC), Kulwant Singh Lambha (former Deputy Superintendent of HSIIDC), Dhare Singh (former Chief Town Planner), and Surjeet Singh (former Chief Town planner) on December 17,” said Advocate SPS Parmar who appeared on behalf of Hooda and Tayal. Both are also among the 34 accused facing trial in this case.
A detailed order of the proceedings was not immediately available.
Hooda and 33 others are accused of causing “wrongful loss” of around Rs 1,500 crore to the land owners of four villages, including Manesar, in Gurgaon and “corresponding wrongful gain to themselves”.
The Haryana government in August 2004 had issued notification for acquisition of 912 acres for setting up an industrial model township in Gurgaon villages including Manesar.
According to the CBI, the private land owners sold around 350 acres “at throwaway rates of Rs 20 to 25 lacs per acre” to private entities under the threat of acquisition by government at meagre rates.
The government later issued another declaration for acquisition, leading the private builders to acquire the remaining 50 acres at a rate of “even Rs 1.50 crore per acre”.
However, the land was released from acquisition in 2007 by the government after the “land had been grabbed from the owners by the land mafia”, according to the prosecution. A total of 459 acres was acquired by private builders and companies after the date of notification due to the deliberate action of accused, which “allowed the land acquisition proceedings to lapse”.
The court during the proceedings observed that it was a “collective conspiracy” and thus all involved should have been arrayed.
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