ED chargesheets Hooda, 21 others in Panchkula plot allotment scam


Case involves allocation of 14 plots worth ₹30.34 cr. allegedly to acquaintances of Hooda in 2013

 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against 22 accused persons, including former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in connection with the Panchkula industrial plot allotment scam. The case involves allocation of 14 plots worth ₹30.34 crore allegedly to the acquaintances of Mr. Hooda in 2013.

The ED’s money laundering probe is based on an FIR registered by the State’s vigilance bureau on December 19, 2015. The FIR was later transferred to the CBI.

The agency, based on its findings, alleged that Mr. Hooda, as the then ex-officio Chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), four then senior IAS officials and other office-bearers of HUDA (Panchkula) illegally extended favours to his acquaintances, denying allotment to more worthy applicants.

Apart from Mr. Hooda, retired IAS officials Dharam Pal Singh Nagal, who was the Chief Administrator of the HUDA; Surjit Singh, who worked as the Administrator of the HUDA); Subhash Chandra Kansal, the then Chief Controller of Finance, the HUDA; and Narinder Kumar Solanki, the then Zonal Administrator (Faridabad), HUDA, have been arraigned.

Another accused HUDA official is Bharat Bhushan Taneja, the then Superintendent, HUDA, besides the 14 allottees and beneficiaries.

The ED alleged that the price fixed for the allotment was kept four to five times below the circle rate and seven to eight times lower than the prevailing market rate. “The criteria for allotment was altered 18 days after the last date of application and when all the applicant data was in possession of HUDA. The criteria was altered in such a way as to favour the pre-selected applicants by increasing the discretion at the hands of the interview committee,” it said in a statement.

‘Interview process compromised’

The entire interview process was vitiated and compromised as no formal record of marks allocation was kept, as alleged. “Hence, worthy applicants were driven out of merit and applicants who were closely connected to Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in terms of his personal capacity and also in terms of the political party he belongs to, were allotted these plots,” the ED said.

All the 14 industrial plots stand attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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