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Ad blitz: Lokayukta begins probe into Hooda’s role
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh HoodaChandigarh, January 30
The Haryana Lokayukta has initiated a probe involving Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the charges of cheating, misinformation and misusing official position while splurging crores on government’s flagship media blitzkrieg “Sabse Aage Haryana” (Haryana, always ahead).

Panipat-based RTI activist and complainant in the case PP Kapoor today filed an affidavit before Lokayukta Justice Pritam Pal alleging that the Hooda government misinformed the public about its “achievements” through a publicity campaign, which cost the exchequer crores of rupees, last year.

Justice Pritam Pal told The Tribune that he had forwarded the case to the Registrar for a preliminary inquiry to collect evidence in connection with the complaint.

Basing his complaint on information procured under the RTI Act, Kapoor filed a complaint with the Lokayukta on December 26 last year. He demanded the registration of an FIR against Hooda and Director General, Public Relations, Sudhir Rajpal for allegedly misinforming the public through the advertisement campaign.

The complainant alleged the publicity budget for 2013-14 was pegged at Rs 114 crore out of which Rs 3.46 crore had already been spent by June 3, 2013. The advertisements issued by the government claimed that the state witnessed an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore and 20 lakh youth had got employment since 2005 when Hooda came to power.

However, the Investment Promotion Centre (IPC), a wing of the Industries and Commerce Department, informed Kapoor under the RTI provisions that an investment of Rs 3,179 crore had been witnessed and 35,859 persons had got employment from 2005 to December, 2012. The IPC, in turn, based its information on the project reports of private entrepreneurs.

The IPC made it clear that “when the special economic zone (SEZ) policy was formulated in 2005, it was expected that Haryana would attract investment to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore and around 20 lakh youths would be able to secure jobs. However, out of 101 SEZ proposals, only four could start in Gurgaon.”

Kapoor had sought registration of FIRs against Hooda and Rajpal for allegedly misusing huge public money through a “false” publicity campaign. For the Lokayukta to take cognisance of a case, an affidavit on oath by the complainant is mandatory. If the case turns out to be false, the complainant can be prosecuted for it, sources say. 

Second after Yeddy

Hooda is perhaps the second CM after former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa to face a probe by the Lokayukta. While the probe against Hooda is still in initial stage, Yeddyurappa was reportedly indicted by the Lokayukta.

What next?

The Registrar will now collect more evidence to determine whether the case can be heard by the Lokayukta. Lokayukta will start a regular hearing only after the Registrar’s recommendation





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