The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a chargesheet against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress leader Motilal Vora in connection with alleged irregularities in the re-allotment of a plot in Panchkula district of the state, PTI reported. The agency claimed that the re-allotment of the plot to the Associated Journals Limited caused a loss of Rs 67 lakh to the exchequer.
The CBI said that the Associated Journals, run purportedly by Congress leaders, was allotted a plot of land in Panchkula in 1982, on which no construction took place for 10 years, the Hindustan Times reported. The Haryana Urban Development Authority then took back possession of the plot.
However, in 2005, the same plot was allotted at the old rate to the Associated Journals, allegedly in violation of the norms established by the Haryana Urban Development Authority, which was then led by Hooda. As the chief minister, the Congress leader was the ex-officio chairperson of the authority. This caused the Rs 67-lakh loss to the exchequer, the CBI alleged. Vora was then the chairperson of Associated Journals.
The CBI filed the chargesheet in a special court in Panchkula under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed the chargesheet had been filed because the Narendra Modi-led government had an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “As polls approach, government indulges in such acts,” he said, according to ANI. “Five years are about to get over. They have all powers but do they have any evidence? Their only aim is to use such tools as per convenience during polls.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury accused the Centre of using independent agencies against Opposition leaders. “We’ve been seeing the way these cases are going against Opposition leaders, happening in Andhra Pradesh and everywhere else now,” he said. “All these institutions which require to be independent are being utilised in this way.”