CBI looks into Golf Course road Gurugram acquisition case

After successfully completing investigations in what is known as Manesar land acquisition case and subsequent release of about one thousands acre land, CBI has filled charge-sheet against a former chief minister of Haryana and half a dozen senior IAS officers in the court of Jagdeep Singh, designated Judge of CBI court at Panchkula. The agency is investigating yet another case of issue of notices under the Land Acquisition Act for the public purpose and subsequent release of land when panicky farmers had sold it to builders at throwaway prices in Gurugram. The case has assumed significance with a top officer of CBI, accusing other officer of accepting a huge sum of bribe via an IAS officer for hushing up the case which is being investigated by the agency on the directions of the Supreme Court, reports PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL

In the case, notice under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for the acquisition of 1,407 acres land of villages of Nagli Umarpur, Tigara, Ulahwas, Kadarpur, Maidawas, Badshahpur, Bahrampur and Ghata on the Golf Course road in  Gurugram for development of residential and commercial sectors was issued on 2 June, 2009. Further declaration under the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 31 May 2010 with respect to 850 acres of land and rest of the land was left out from the acquisition. And finally, only 87 acres of land was acquired.Under threat of acquisition, panicky farmers had sold their land to the builders at a throwaway price and once the land was bought by the builders, notice for the acquisition was withdrawn. The builder was given licence for colonization.

Aggrieved farmers had challenged the decision of Haryana government in Punjab and Haryana High Court and they won the case. but the government had challenged the Judgement of High court in the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar issued orders on 1 November 2017 and said: “Considering the serious allegations, let  there be investigations by the CBI in the case and it may submit a report to the court within a period of six months from today.”

During the hearings of the case, counsel of Haryana government has placed on record a letter mentioning that the state government is agreeable to hand over the matter for investigations to CBI regarding initiation of acquisition for approximately 1400 acres of land and finally, restricting it to 87 acres only and all matter connected therewith.

File for grant of colonisation licence was cleared in single day and the role of three senior IAS officers who had dealt the file is under scanner of CBI, which according to the official sources is likely to issue notices to these officers for explaining as why the licence was granted when the land in question was under process of acquisition and further what was hurry in clearing the file.

Ram Babu Ambavta, a lawyer who is fighting case of  the farmers told Tehelka, “Farmers were cheated to the tune of 10,000 crores, benefiting builders, politicians and officers of town planning adding that farmers were forced to sell their land to builders at through way price at gunpoint meaning threat of acquisition.” A team headed by CBI DSP Parmod Kumar recorded the statements of farmers whose land was purchased by the builders after the issue of notices under section 4 of Land Acquisition Act. Kumar refused to share any detail about the investigations and told Tehelka that agency is investigating the case on directions of the Supreme Court and we will submit our report in the court.

One senior IAS officer involved in the scam who was appointed on a top constitutional post after retirement is already facing heat in another land scam.

One is still occupying a top administrative position in the Haryana state, while other who was heading Town and Country Planning department during the regime of Bhupinder Hooda has got top position in Manohar Lal government also. Courtesy patronage of a powerful colonizer whom he had helped during Hooda regime and also due to his close relations with a media barren, who enjoys considerable clout in Manohar Lal led government and Narender Modi led Union government.

Copy of file noting in possession of Tehelka proves that file for colonization licence was cleared in a single day by the Director of Town and Country Planning department, Financial Commissioner of the department and the Chief Minister for obvious reasons.

Three months ago, CBI team headed by SP Rajeev Ranjan had questioned the officers of Town and Country planning Haryana at its headquarters at Chandigarh on how notice was issued for acquisition of land for public purpose and was withdrawn when the farmers had sold land to builders in panic at a throwaway price.

Dhara Sing and Jaswant Singh retired Chief Town Planners and Satish, Assistant Town Planner were also questioned. During this interrogation period, no outsider was allowed in the DTCP office and the Director Town Planning, K M Panduranga, was present during the questioning. CBI sources told Tehelka that all relevant records pertaining to the acquisition and license granting period was seized.  The Haryana government is fully cooperating with the CB as it has only to gain because the scam is related to its predecessors.

A spokesman of the Haryana government told Tehelka, “We will cooperate with the CBI as this scam belongs to the previous government and we have nothing to hide. Agency will further question officers and staff of Director Town and Planning as they have not provided the page mentioning Power of attorney on stamp paper which is necessary to prove that land in question was purchased after an issue of notice.

Earlier, the CBI had asked the Haryana government to provide accommodation to them in the office of the Town and Country Planning Department, Gurugram. The investigation agency was planning to interrogate about seventy officials of the department who were posted at Gurugram when the process for issuing of notices under sections 4 and 6 was underway and later on for releasing the land when builders had purchased it from panicky farmers at throwaway prices was completed.  They have been asked to submit details of their assets.

The CBI’s promptness in the investigation has sent panic waves among officials of the department who had reportedly purchased land at throwaway prices in name of their distant relatives taking advantage of inside information that the land will be released. Builders had developed sectors 58-67 on prime land having residential and commercial projects. 

When the acquisition proceedings were on, builders purchased the land and applied for the license for colonisation. Their applications were forwarded to the headquarters. At the headquarters, their cases could have been rejected as the acquisition proceedings were still going on but they were granted the licence in a single day. Jasbir Malik who is contesting the case in the Supreme Court on behalf of farmers told Tehelka, “This is a serious case of misuse of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act to loot the farmers for the benefit of the builders adding that he hoped that CBI will not be influenced by any consideration.”