Haryana Governor gives sanction to Hooda’s prosecution in AJL case

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya on Thursday gave sanction to prosecution of former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) case. Hooda described it as politically motivated.

Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 15

Haryana Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya on Thursday gave its sanction to a proposal to prosecute former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in a case of illegal re-allotment of land.

The Governor’s sanction comes nearly a year after the Enforcement Directorate told Punjab and Haryana High Court that Hooda misused his official position to illegally re-allot some land in Panchkula to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in 2005.

Both Central Bureau of Investigation and ED are investigating the case.

The ED’s affidavit came in response to a petition that Congress leader Motilal Vora, chairman of AJL chairman, filed before the high court asking for the agency’s enforcement case investigation report to be quashed.

In May 2016, the state vigilance bureau had registered a case against Hooda for cheating and corruption in re-allotment of land to the AJL in Panchkula by HUDA.

As chief minister, Hooda was chairman of HUDA at the time of allotment of the plot.

Investigators claimed that Hooda ignored the advice of both Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Financial Commissioner of the Town and Country Planning Department “in order to show favour to the petitioner”.

HUDA allotted AJL, the publisher of the National Herald newspaper, 3,360 sq. meters of land on August 24, 1982. AJL was given six months to begin construction and two years to finish it. But when it still remained unfinished 10 years later, the state government took back the land on October 30, 1992 through an order.

On July 26, 1995, the HUDA’s Chief Administrator of the HUDA turned down AJL’s appeal against the previous order. The company then approached HUDA chairman. The appeal was still pending when Hooda took over in 2005.

On August 28, 2005, HUDA re-allotted the land to the AJL at 1982 price, allegedly in violation of its own policy as well as the law. In May 2016, state’s Vigilance Bureau registered an FIR against Hooda, and the case was transferred to CBI in December that same year.

‘Motivated’

Hooda claimed the case was “politically motivated”.

“The decision was taken by the Authority (HUDA) and not by an individual. Many other publications besides the AJL were allotted plots by the HUDA. The Authority only restored AJL’s allotment. The AJL had already made complete payment of the plot,” Hooda said.

Chronology

August 24, 1982: Land allotted to Associated Journals Limited (AJL)

October 30, 1992: Land resumed by Estate Officer

July 26, 1995: Appeal dismissed by Chief Administrator, HUDA

August 28, 2005: Land re-allotted to AJL at 1982 price

May 2016: State Vigilance Bureau books former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda

 

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