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Bhupinder Hooda, Motilal Vora granted bail in AJL case


Panchkula, Jan 3: Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora were Thursday granted bail by a CBI court here in a case pertaining to alleged illegal re-allotment of land to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) in Panchkula in 2005.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda

Hooda and Vora were granted bail by CBI judge Jagdeep Singh on furnishing a bail bond of Rs five lakh each, their counsel Abhishek Rana said.

The Congress leaders were handed over copies of charge-sheet filed against them by the CBI. The next date for hearing in the case has been fixed for February 6, he said.

On December one last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed charge-sheet against Hooda, Vora and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of the National Herald newspaper, in special CBI court in Panchkula, for the alleged illegal re-allotment of land.

The charge-sheet was filed in the CBI court under sections 120 B and 420 of IPC and Sections 13 (I) (d) read with 13 (2) of prevention of corruption act.

As per the allegations, an industrial plot at Panchkula was illegally re-allotted to Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), which is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders, including the Gandhi family, through Young India Ltd.

Founded by former prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, AJL runs National Herald newspaper.

It is alleged that Hooda, the then CM-cum-chairman Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) re-allotted the plot to AJL in 2005 at original rates plus interest, by abusing his position and against the legal opinion of authorities and advice of Legal Remembrancer for re-advertising the said plot.

Allotment of plot caused loss to exchequer and wrongful enrichment to the company, it is alleged.

A case of cheating, corruption and criminal conspiracy, was registered by the Haryana Vigilance Bureau against Hooda and AJL for alleged irregularities in allotment of the plot to the firm. The case was taken over by the CBI last year.

Registered against former Hooda in his ex-officio capacity as Haryana Urban Development Authority chairman, the FIR also named HUDA's former chief administrator and AJL amongst others.

The Haryana government's complaint, on the basis of which the case was registered, had alleged that AJL was allotted a plot in Panchkula in 1982 on which no construction took place till 1992.

It prompted HUDA to cancel the allotment of the plot and resume it.

The CBI FIR, quoting the Haryana government's complaint, said the AJL filed an appeal against the HUDA's decision before HUDA administrator, who dismissed the appeal on July 26, 1995.

AJL subsequently challenged the HUDA administrator's decision before the Haryana's Town and Country Planning Commissioner who too set aside the appeal, the CBI FIR said.

The FIR further alleged that abusing his official position as HUDA chairman and contravening HUDA's policies, Hooda went against the advise rendered to him by the officials and ordered re-allotment of the plot to AJL at original rates plus interest on August 28, 2005.

The investigation carried out by the Haryana Police after the BJP government came to power concluded that allotment was made in an "arbitrary manner" and in complete violation of the HUDA Act and against the advise of the officials due to which a wrongful loss was caused to the exchequer.

The state government had referred the matter to the CBI because of the alleged involvement of persons in "high places" and the company having offices in number of states which would be beyond the working of the State Vigilance Bureau.


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