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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Entire Haryana knows me, Hooda tells ED on link with allottees

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20

With the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claiming that most allottees in the industrial plot allotment case are known to former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and he favoured them, the latter, in his statement to the investigating agency, recorded that "entire Haryana knows him".

"I belong to one of the oldest political families of Haryana and know so many people, of which some happened to figure in the final list of the allottees. It does not mean favouritism was done in the interview," he added in his statement to the ED.

Hooda had recorded his statement on July 25 and 26, 2019, and it is a part of the ED's prosecution complaint (PC) filed before the Special Court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on February 15.

As per the prosecution complaint filed on February 15, he had admitted that two allottees were from his village, one was son of his schoolmate, one was daughter-in-law of his OSD, one used to play tennis with him, one was family member of an MLA of his party, three allottees were family members of active party members and one allottee was son of his old acquaintance.

During the questioning, he was shown the list of 16 "worthier non-allottees" and asked if he knew any of those.

Hooda denied knowing any of them, but said it was only a coincidence that some of the allottees were known to him.

On being questioned further, he stated that he did not ask any HUDA official about how the applicants were shortlisted in such a way that most of them were his acquaintances.

When questioned on why plots were offered at lower price than the circle rates, he replied that the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was not an organisation for profit.

On changing criteria and dropping experience parameter, Hooda replied that it was done in order to give preference to new entrepreneurs or new start-ups and to effectively evaluate personal attributes, entrepreneur skills, experience and aptitude of the applicants, and thus the marks of the viva-voce were increased from 15 to 25.

He told the ED that at no stage after the interview, agenda sheets or a comparative list of marks were put up before him and he did not know about the initial scrutiny of the applications received.

from The Tribune

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