January 29, 2021 9:50:51 pm
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed an order through which a CBI court in Panchkula, hearing the Manesar land scam case, had summoned two former chief town planners of HSIIDC, former director of industries and commerce, and chief town planner of Haryana.
The bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan, hearing the plea of petitioners Surjit Singh, DR Dhingra, and Dhare Singh, all retired officials of Haryana government, Thursday stayed the “operation and implementation of the impugned order dated 01.12.2020” and scheduled the next hearing on April 30.
The special CBI Court on December 1 had summoned Surjit Singh (Chief Town Planner in HSIIDC); DR Dhingra (former director of industries and commerce of Haryana); and Dhare Singh (former chief town planner, Haryana) as additional accused, to face trial and directed them to appear for the offence under Section 420 of IPC read with Section 120 B IPC, and section 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of the PC Act.
Surjit Singh, through his counsel, Advocate Deepender Singh, in HC contended that the order of the “trial court is completely without jurisdiction and ex-facie illegal”.
Thirty-four people, including former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, 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 lakh 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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