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Saturday, 20 February 2021

Hooda ‘central conspirator’ in plot allotment case: ED

Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 19

Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been named as the "central conspirator" in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) prosecution complaint in the Panchkula industrial plot allotment case.

The agency has alleged that he "actually planned" the "illegal allocation" and altered the eligibility criteria to suit the selected allottees and "to make them worthier than the other applicants".

'Planned illegal allocation'

The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda "actually planned" the "illegal allocation" and altered the eligibility criteria to suit the selected allottees and "to make them worthier than the other applicants".

While connecting the accused alottees with Hooda, the ED said Renu Hooda and Nandita Hooda were from his ancestral Sanghi village, Kanwar Preet Singh Sandhu was the son of his schoolmate DD Sandhu, Mona Beri was the daughter-in-law of his OSD Baldev Raj Beri, Dr Ganesh Dutt Rattan used to play tennis with him and Pardeep Kumar was the son of his private secretary Singh Ram.

The ED further said accused allottee Ashok Verma's father-in-law Ashok Kaka was HAFED chairman during the Congress regime and known to Hooda, Aman Gupta's father Ramesh Gupta was Thanesar ex-MLA and well-acquainted to him, Lt Col OP Dahiya (retd) is related to former Congress MLA Karan Dalal, Dagar Katyal's father Sunil Katyal had served as a Commissioner in the Haryana Right to Service Commission and known to him while Manjot Kaur is the daughter-in-law of Justice MS Sullar (retd), also known to Hooda.

Siddharth Bhardwaj's father Sanjeev Bhardwaj was the HPCC secretary in 2004 and left the party in 2005. He rejoined in 2016.

The ED alleges that Hooda, as HUDA chairman, dropped the criterion of 'experience' and 'qualification', and the marks of 'financial capability' had been reduced from 25 to 10 while that of 'viva-voce' increased from 15 to 25.

It claimed that Hooda didn't approve the final criteria till the industrial plots were advertised and all applications were in the possession of the HUDA office.

The ED said the altered criteria helped the 14 allottees as they were "financially weak" and had "very less" or nil experience while increase in viva-voce marks helped to give "enough discretion" to interviewing members for giving favour. Most of the allottees still remained less worthy than the unsuccessful applicants, the ED added.

There were 582 applicants for 14 plots. On pricing, the ED found that the plots were given at Rs 7.85 crore but were worth Rs 30.34 crore as per circle rates, causing crores of loss to the exchequer.

The interview process was also a sham as non-allottees were called in the room "en block i.e. in groups" and in some of the cases "non-inquiries were made or no questions were asked", claims the ED in prosecution complaint filed on February 15.

It has also pointed out the incomplete forms of allottees, wherein it says that Sandhu's application form was unsigned and didn't even have his picture. On behalf of Nandita Hooda, her accountant appeared but she got 22 of 25 marks in viva-voce.

from The Tribune

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