Probe construction of commercial complex on residential land in Gurugram: HC to CBI

Central agency told to complete investigation within six months

Probe construction of commercial complex on residential land in Gurugram: HC to CBI

CBI has been told to submit a status report within three months.

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10

Nearly 19 years after an order paved the way for construction of Ambience Mall in Gurugram on area initially earmarked as residential, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday not only quashed the same, but also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the entire issue after registering a formal FIR.

It was asked to make efforts to complete the entire investigation within six months and submit a status report within three months.

The Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted the order delicensing a part of the residential area for commercial purpose was without authority of law and needed to be quashed. A separate investigation by an independent agency was also necessary into possible collusion between the builder and the state authorities. The State was also directed to “take necessary consequential steps forthwith”.

The Bench asserted no justification whatsoever was forthcoming for delicensing part housing project area for commercial purposes “and a huge mall, Ambience Mall, having been allowed to be raised thereon”. The Bench added the entire sequence of events pointed at prior meeting of minds between the builder and the officials who dealt with the matter.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gupta asserted: “We are constrained to draw a conclusion that the possibility of builder acting in collusion with the authorities and duping innocent buyers of apartments cannot be ruled out. It appears they were made to sign on the dotted line in the builder-buyer agreement, oblivious of the probable mischief by the builder in connivance with the State officials.”

The builder had initially identified 18.93 acres in Nathupur village on Delhi-Gurugram border for establishing a group housing project. Among the promises made to the buyers was reservation of 80 per cent area for open and community services.

But “suddenly” the builder moved an application for delicensing of 8 out of 18.98 acres with further permission to erect a commercial complex. Ignoring all statutory provisions and throwing caution to winds, the authorities acted more promptly than expected and an order granting permission to establish a commercial complex on 8 acres was passed in October 16, 2001, while the order to delicense the same area was passed on October 18, 2001. As such, almost every statutory provision contained in the relevant Act and the Rules was violated “resulting in a cascading effect, compromising open spaces, roads, parks, community buildings and schools etc”.

Justice Gupta added the fact that there has been undue enrichment of the builder perhaps with the active involvement of the State officials could not be ignored by the Court. Such enrichment was not just in violation of various enactments, but also a loss to public exchequer at the cost of general public.

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