ED attaches Panchkula plots allotted during Hooda tenure

Associated Journals Limited

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) In fresh trouble for former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said that it has attached land worth Rs 30 crore in the state in its probe into the Panchkula Industrial Plots Allocation scam.

In a statement, the ED said that it has attached 14 industrial plots worth Rs 30.34 crore in Panchkula, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It said that these plots were fraudulently allocated to the persons closely connected to Hooda, who was also the Chairman, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

“It has been found that the plots were allocated to persons closely connected to Hooda in terms of his personal capacity and also in terms of the political party he belongs to,” it added.

The financial probe agency said that during investigation, it was revealed that 14 industrial plots were available with HUDA for allotment in 2011. “It has come out during investigation that the prices fixed for the subject allotment were kept very low vis-a-vis market rate. The then prevalent collector rate was around four to five times the price fixed for allotment,” it said.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Haryana government to evolve a fair and transparent criteria for such allocations, but “the criteria for allotment were altered by 18 days after the last date of application was over and all the applicant data was in possession of HUDA”, it alleged.

The agency further alleged that marks for certain criteria were altered to “favour the pre-selected applicants” by “increasing the discretion at the hands of the interview committee”.

“The marks for certain criteria were reduced and for others, the criteria points were given zero marks thereby effectively removing the criteria as given in EMP (Environment Management Plan),” it said.

The agency also alleged that the entire interview process was vitiated and compromised as no formal record of marks allocation was kept.

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