Charges framed against Hooda by special CBI court in National Herald’s Panchkula land allotment case

The wheels start moving again in the National Herald’s Panchkula land allotment case

The wheels start moving again in the National Herald’s Panchkula land allotment case
The wheels start moving again in the National Herald’s Panchkula land allotment case

Hooda and Moti Lal Vora had been named as accused in the case

A Special CBI Court in Panchkula on Friday framed charges against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the National Herald newspaper’s land allotment scam in Panchkula. Hooda was present in Court and charges were framed against Hooda under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (party to criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Trial procedures will start on May 7.

Hooda and Congress leader Moti Lal Vora, who passed away recently, had been named as accused in the case. Hooda was Managing Director of National Herald newspaper publishing company Associated Journals Limited (AJL). After BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s main case in Delhi against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the Central Bureau of Investigation had in December 2018 filed a charge sheet against Hooda and Vora, then chairperson of AJL, in connection with alleged irregularities in the re-allotment of a plot in Panchkula. The first case was charged by Haryana Government in 2015 and transferred the case to CBI. The agency in its charge sheet had then claimed that the re-allotment of the plot to AJL caused a loss of Rs.67 lakh to the exchequer.

The ED had filed a criminal complaint of money laundering in this case in 2016 based on a CBI FIR, which had taken over the investigation into the case at the request of the BJP government of Haryana, and criminal FIRs filed by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau.

The CBI had said that the AJL was allotted a plot of land in Panchkula in 1982, on which no construction took place for 10 years after which the Haryana Urban Development Authority then took back possession of the plot. However, in 2005, the same plot was re-allotted at the old rate to the AJL allegedly in violation of the norms. As the Chief Minister, Hooda was the ex-officio chairperson of the authority.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) too had been probing the case and had earlier filed its charge sheet in a case of alleged irregularities in land allotment to the AJL in Panchkula. The land building in Panchkula and Mumbai are already attached by ED[1].

“Hooda favored the AJL by granting them three undue extensions for construction in the said plot from May, 2008-May 10, 2012 until the AJL completed the construction in the year 2014,” the ED had earlier charged in a statement. The agency charged that Hooda allotted the pot to AJL by “blatantly misusing his official position.”

Hooda as Chief Minister “dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL at original rates plus interest in violation of necessary conditions and policy of HUDA (Haryana Urban Development Authority) vide order dated August 28, 2005.” The ED had filed a criminal complaint of money laundering in this case in 2016 based on a CBI FIR, which had taken over the investigation into the case at the request of the BJP government of Haryana, and criminal FIRs filed by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau.

References:

[1] National Herald case: ED attaches 11-floor building in Bandra East, Mumbai for money launderingMay 09, 2020, PGurus.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here