National

AJL case: ED attaches assets worth over ₹16 crore

The attachment order was issued on the company and veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, as its then CMD. | File

The attachment order was issued on the company and veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, as its then CMD. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Agency probing alleged irregular re-allotment of Panchkula plot to firm in 2005

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth ₹16.58 crore in connection with the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) case.

The attachment order was issued on the company and veteran Congress leader Motilal Vora, as its then CMD, said the agency.

Also read | Bhupinder Hooda, Motilal Vora granted regular bail by ED court in AJL plot allotment case

The ED probe is based on the cases pursued by the Haryana police and the Central Bureau of Investigation involving the alleged irregular re-allotment of a Panchkula plot to the AJL in 2005.

The plot was first allotted to the company in 1982. The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) took back the land in October 1992 as the AJL did not comply with the conditions of allotment, it is alleged.

The Resumption Order attained finality in 1996 after dismissal of the revision petition filed by the AJL representatives.

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“However, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the then Chief Minister of Haryana and Chairman of HUDA, by misusing his official position, dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL,” said the agency.

The fresh allotment was done at original rates plus interest in alleged violation of necessary conditions and HUDA policy, vide an order dated August 28, 2005.

“Mr. Hooda also did not adhere to the legal opinion of Legal Remembrance, Haryana, and recommendations of HUDA officers and FCTCP. Thus, there was a wrongful loss to HUDA and wrongful gain to AJL,” said an ED official.

It is alleged that Mr. Hooda further favoured the AJL by granting it three “undue extensions” for construction on the plot, from May 1, 2008, to May 10, 2012. The company completed the construction work in 2014.

The ED probe revealed that Mr. Vora and Mr. Hooda were “involved in the process of illegal possession of the crime proceeds”.

The property in question was provisionally attached and the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act confirmed the attachment.

The accused persons had also used the Panchkula plot for availing themselves of loans from the Syndicate Bank, by pledging it for the approval of construction of a building in Mumbai’s Bandra (East).

The building, held in the name of AJL, was worth ₹120 crore, the agency said.

“It is a nine-storey building having two basements and the total built-up area is 15,000 square metres. Thus, the said asset in Mumbai, germinated out of proceeds of crime, has been attached to the extent of ₹16.58 crore,” the ED said.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:25:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ajl-case-ed-attaches-assets-worth-over-16-crore/article31542713.ece

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