Rohtak land deal case: Supreme Court orders CBI probe

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged Rohtak land deal case in Haryana, during the former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s regime and expressed dissatisfaction over the probe conducted by the Haryana state government.

In the Rohtak land scam, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had proposed to acquire around 850 acres of land in 2002 in Rohtak. But in April 2003, only 441 acres were acquired and remaining land was released to private builders for developing a colony. The apex court has asked the CBI to investigate the culpability of Haryana government functionaries and officials for granting colonisation licences on 280 acres to real estate developer Uddar Gagan Properties in 2005-06, when Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the CM, media reports stated.

But the Haryana government’s decision to release land to the private colonizer was set aside by the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2013 and the Supreme Court in May 2016. The high court had even indicted two senior bureaucrats posted in the office of the then CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda for allegedly favouring the developers. 

“The officers of the state government, in their anxiety to help out builders, have completely overlooked the interest of landowners or of the general public to whom thousands of plots could have been allotted at a fairly low price through the aegis of HUDA,” the high court had observed in 2013, as per a report in The Times of India.

Now, expressing dissatisfaction with the inquiries conducted by the Haryana government, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Uday U Lalit said it’s time to hand over the probe to the CBI.

“This court delivered a judgment in 2016, and five years down the line, we are still groping in the dark. We wanted the fraud to be unearthed, and we wanted those involved should be proceeded against. But the whole thing looks like a subterfuge now,” observed the bench, reported Hindustan Times.

The HT report also mentions that the apex court lamented that the latest inquiry report by an IAS officer, Anurag Rastogi, flagged just a “systemic failure” and did not fix anyone’s responsibility. 

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