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Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda alleges 'political vendetta' in AJL land allotment case

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday claimed that he was a victim of "political vendetta" and maintained that he had done no wrong after the CBI registered a case of criminal conspiracy and cheating against him.

The CBI has registered a case against Hooda and Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), which runs National Herald, for alleged irregularities in the land allotted to the newspaper.

Bhupinder Singh Hooda. CNN News 18

Bhupinder Singh Hooda. CNN News 18

"I have said this earlier too that political vendetta is being unleashed against me. This is vendetta and witch-hunt. Nothing wrong has been done during my tenure (as CM) and in this case too, the rules were followed," the two-time former chief minister said over phone when asked to comment on the CBI lodging FIR against him.

AJL is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders including the Gandhi family through Young India Limited. AJL founded by Jawaharlal Nehru runs National Herald newspaper.

The CBI has taken over the FIR registered by State Vigilance Bureau of Haryana related to charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against the then chairman HUDA (the then chief minister Hooda), then chief administrator, HUDA, the then administrator, financial commissioner, town and country planning department, AJL and others.

As per the procedure, the agency takes over the FIR registered by a state police or state department and carries out its own investigation.

The conclusions are reached by the agency independently which may differ from the line of investigation by the state police. Based on its conclusions, the CBI might charge sheet the accused, it may add or delete an accused in the charge sheet or file a closure report if no crime is proved.

The complaint from Haryana Government, which is now part of the CBI FIR, alleged that AJL was allotted a plot in Panchkula in 1982 on which no construction took place till 1992 prompting the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to resume the plot.

The FIR alleged that the then chief minister Hooda as chairman of HUDA abused his position, contravened the policies and went against the advice rendered by the official to re-advertise the plot and re-alloted it to AJL at original rates plus interest on 28 August, 2005.

The Haryana state vigilance bureau had registered a case of cheating and corruption against Hooda and four officials on 5 May, 2016.

The vigilance bureau found in its investigation that the institutional plot No. C-17 in Sector-6 of Panchkula was re-allotted by Hooda in an arbitrary manner and in complete violation and disregard to the rules by causing loss to the state.

Hooda, however, claimed that the plot was not given at original rates and the interest amounting to several lakh rupees was paid by the AJL.

Last year, CBI had carried out searches at 20 locations including the residences of Hooda in a case of alleged irregularities in acquisition of land in Gurugram in which
farmers were allegedly cheated to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore.

Hooda had then termed the CBI searches at his residences as "political vendetta" unleashed by the BJP government.

The former CM had also dubbed the institution of a Commission of Inquiry, which probed grant of land licences to some companies, including that of Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Gurugram, as "politically motivated" and an act of "political vendetta".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Apr 07, 2017 12:36 PM

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