CBI seeks Haryana govt sanction to prosecute former CM Hooda

CBI seeks Haryana govt sanction to prosecute former CM Hooda
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Chandigarh, Oct 18: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought sanction from Haryana government to prosecute former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in a case pertaining to the restoration of an institutional plot at Panchkula to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) at old rates.
Under the amended Prevention of Corruption Act, the investigation agency now has to take prior sanction from the state government to prosecute a former public servant who served in the state government. Hooda was the chief minister and chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) when the plot was restored to AJL at old rates in 2005.
AJL, a company having many Congress leaders as its directors, publishes the National Herald newspaper. The CBI will file a charge-sheet in the CBI court once it gets the sanction to prosecute the former chief minister.
Officers opposed the restoration
The government officials had in writing opposed the restoration of the plot to the AJL but were overruled by Hooda, the then chief minister and chairman of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), who passed a speaking order to restore it. The 3,500 square metre plot was first allotted to AJL in 1982 but resumed by HUDA in 1992.
The state vigilance bureau had in May 2016 booked Hooda and three officials – the then chief administrator, HUDA, SS Dhillon; the then principal secretary, town and country planning, Shakuntla Jakhu and then administrator, HUDA (HQ), Vineet Garg, for allegedly restoring the resumed plot. The case was in 2017 referred to the CBI by the state government for investigations.
The CBI had registered a regular case (RC) against Hooda and the officials under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), 420 ( cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act ( misuse of official position by public servant) against Hooda, the officials and Associated Journals Ltd.
Clean chit to officials
During the investigation, the CBI found that the government officials had no role in the allotment of plot to AJL as they had opposed it on the file. It was in 2016 reported that BJP government had wrongly named the officials in the FIR registered by vigilance bureau.
The three officials named had written on the file that fresh allotment at current allotment rates can be made, that there was no merit in the AJL’s request for restoration and the case needs to be filed. Even the law secretary in his opinion said there can be no question of re-allotment or restoration of the plot to the same allottee.