The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda allegedly misused his official position and illegally re-allotted a plot in 2005 to the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula.
The ED’s response came on a petition filed by Congress leader and chairman of AJL, Moti Lal Vora, who has sought quashing of enforcement case investigation report (ECIR) registered by the ED.
The ED told the court here in an affidavit yesterday that Hooda allegedly misused his official position to re-allot the plot to the petitioner and caused “wrongful gain” to it and corresponding loss to the state exchequer.
The ED told the court that investigations have revealed that when Hooda became chief minister in 2005, he allegedly re-allotted the plot in gross violation of existing policy and legal position.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Financial Commissioner of the Town and Country Planning Department (FCTCP) had advised against re-allotment of the plot in Panchkula to AJL, but Hooda “in order to show favour to petitioner” bypassed recommendations of both government departments, the ED submitted before the court.
AJL is publisher of the National Herald newspaper with Vora as chairman.
The ECIR registered on July 15, 2016 by Chandigarh office of the ED was based on a May 5, 2016 FIR of the Haryana Vigilance Bureau regarding allegations of cheating and corruption against Hooda and others for allegedly reallotting an industrial plot in Panchkula to AJL.
The plot had been initially allotted to AJL in 1982.
After the expiry of the lease period in 1996, the Haryana Vikas Party government led by Bansi Lal took back its possession. It was reallotted to AJL after the Congress came into power in 2005 with Hooda as CM.
Notably, the ED had issued summons last year to Vora in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in the allotment of a plot to AJL in Panchkula in 2005.
Vora, the national treasurer of the All India Congress Committee, had been earlier summoned under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Investigating Officer of the case in his capacity as the Chairman and Managing Director of the AJL.
The agency, last year, had filed a criminal complaint and booked Hooda, AJL officials and others on charges of alleged money laundering, taking cognisance of a Haryana State Vigilance Bureau FIR.