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Hooda booked in AJL land deal

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The promoters of National Herald were re-allotted a plot at older rates, says FIR

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, senior Haryana Urban Developm-ent Authority (HUDA) officials and trustees and directors of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the promoters of the National Herald, have been booked on charges of cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act for re-alloting a plot to AJL in Panchkula in 2005 at older rates and causing a loss of Rs.62 lakh to the State exchequer.



According to the FIR registered at the State Vigilance Bureau Police Station, Panchkula, on May 5, HUDA allotted plot no. 17 at Sector 6 in Panchkula to AJL on August 24, 1982, and the latter took possession of the said plot on August 30 the same year. The said company then made a request to then HUDA Chairman to allow them to repay the remaining instalments of the plot over a period of ten years and the request was accepted.



Construction delayed



As per the terms and conditions of allotment, the company was supposed to start the construction on the said plot within six months of taking possession and complete it within a period of two years. But the company failed to adhere to the construction schedule and as a result, the plot was resumed by the Estate Officer, Panchkula on October 30, 1992, said the FIR.



The FIR further said that the company had appealed to then HUDA Administrator, Panchkula against the orders of the Estate Officer, but its appeal was dismissed. It then went on appeal to the Finance Commissioner, Department of Town and Country Planning but its appeal was again dismissed on October 10, 1996. The company then made a request to HUDA Chairman, but it too was turned down on legal grounds.



After taking over as the Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was also HUDA Chairman, on May 14, 2005 directed the staff to explore the possibilities of re-alloting the plot the AJL. The then HUDA Administrator sought legal opinion in his connection and was told that the said plot could not be resumed as the decision in its connection was final, but it could be re-allotted at the current rates. Consequently, then Finance Commissioner, DTCP, on August 18, 2005 proposed to put out advertisements, in newspapers seeking applications for the re-allotment of the said plot, in which AJL could also apply.



On August 28, 2005 then HUDA Chairman, in violation of rules and abusing his power, re-allotted the plot to AJL at the rates of 1982, said the FIR. The firm was allowed six months time to start construction and complete it within a period of two years, but the company sought a year's time to start construction on September 1, 2005 and the HUDA officials granted the extended time to the company, the FIR said.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 9:53:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/hooda-booked-in-ajl-land-deal/article8573448.ece

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