File: Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside decisions of Bhupinder Hooda government in Haryana to drop the land acquisition proceedings against private builders for about 688 acres land in Manesar.
Terming the decisions as cases of fraud on power, the court on Monday said they were brought about by "malafide exercise of power".
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case in September 2015 on allegations that private builders in conspiracy with public servants of the Haryana government had acquired land from farmers and land owners of Manesar at throwaway prices. The land was reportedly purchased showing the threat of acquisition by the government.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Hooda and 33 others in a case of alleged corruption in Manesar land deals worth over Rs 1,500 crore. Twenty-nine builders and companies were also named in the chargesheet.
The Supreme Court ruled today that buyers from whom money was collected by builders will either be entitled to refunds or plots/apartments.
The Supreme Court also directed the CBI to investigate transactions including the unearthing of unnatural gains received by “middlemen” in the Manesar land case. The court has now asked the CBI to investigate the matter.
The apex court also asked the Punjab and Haryana High Court to dispose of the petition challenging the constitution of SN Dhingra Commission of inquiry within two months so that public interest does not suffer by delay. The Dhingra commission was set up in 2015 to investigate alleged corruption in the land deals. The commission submitted its report to the ML Khattar government in August, 2016.
It is alleged that on August 27, 2004 and August 25, 2005, the Haryana government issued separate notifications for the acquisition of 912 acres of land for setting up an industrial model township at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages in Gurgaon.
Threatening the farmers with the governments acquisition process, builders allegedly purchased around 459 acres from farmers at prices in the range of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre to Rs 1.50 crore per acre, according to CBI.
Around 350 acres of land were bought at throwaway price of Rs 20-25 lakh per acre, while another 50 acres at the rate of even Rs 1.50 crore (approx) per acre, the agency said.
In 2007, the builders reportedly gave a plea in the office of the then chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, seeking withdrawal of the acquisition process which was done two months later on August 24, the CBI said.