Haryana’s ex-CM, others grilled in road scam

CBI also names IAS officer TC Gupta in Golf Course Road, Gurugram, land acquisition case, writes Pawan Kumar Bansal

India’s premier investigating agency CBI has conducted searches at Rohtak residence of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and at offices of two dozen leading builders in NCR in connection with what is known as Golf Course Road, Gurugram land acquisition and subsequent release scam. The agency has also named Haryana cadre IAS officer TC Gupta, presently additional chief secretary of Haryana, holding the powerful Power Department.

TC Gupta was director of Town and Country Planning Department when then licence for colonisation was given on above land when it was under process of acquisition. Parmod Kumar, DSP , CBI, while refusing to share the details of searches and recovery, told Tehelka, “We are investigating the case on the directions of the Supreme Court and will submit our report to the apex court.”

Bhupinder Singh Hooda, meanwhile, has described raids as part of political vendetta policy of BJP, adding that he was not afraid of such raids as he was son of a freedom fighter. However, the timing of the raid has raised question mark over agency’s functioning as Hooda was to leave for Jind to address a public meeting in support of Congress candidate in the Assembly by-election.

While the Congress party is supporting Hooda as its Haryana in-charge Gulam Nabi Azad has sought all details of the case, but opponents of Hooda within the party are happy over the developments.

CBI sources said, “In view of the allegations of our special director Rakesh Asthana that our ex-director Alok Verma was bribed by a Haryana cadre IAS officer involved in a scam for hushing up the case. The case has become prestige issue for us. We will ensure that the investigations reaches to its logical conclusion.”

In December issue, Tehelka had carried a detailed report about the scam titled “CBI looks into Golf Course road Gurugram acquisition case. It was reported that the file for colonisation 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. It was also highlighted that the CBI will soon issue notices to these officers asking them to explain the procedure for granting colonisation licence and as what was hurry in clearing the file with jet speed in a single day.

Inclusion of name of TC Gupta in the FIR has sent panic waves among other IAS officers and officials of the Town and Country Planning Department involved in the scam as they fear that they may also be questioned sooner or later.

Sources said that these officers are considering option of becoming approver in the case. Interestingly, in Manesar land acquisition scam, ML Tayal, then principal secretary of the then CM Bhupinder Hooda had pleaded in Punjab and Haryana High Court that FIR registered against him in the scam may be quashed as he had merely carried the orders of the chief minister.

Lawyers, who are contesting the case, are keeping a close watch on the progress of investigations. Ram Babu Ambavta, who is fighting case of the farmers, had said, “Farmers were cheated to the tune of 10,000 thousands crores, benefiting builders, politicians and officers of Town and country planning adding that farmers were forced to sell their land at through way price at the gunpoint meaning threat of acquisition”.

Ram Babu Ambavta is satisfied with the progress of investigations. Jasbir Malik, who is contesting case in the Supreme Court, said, “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 hoping that CBI will not be influenced by any consideration in view of involvement of top officers, politicians and powerful builders.”