CBI chargesheet against Hooda for illegal land allotment to National Herald publishers in Panchkula

The Hush Post|01:55 pm|2-min-read

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a chargesheet in a special court against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The chargesheet also named Congress leader Motilal Vora and a private company Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) in a case related to illegal allotment of land.

What’s the case? 

In the chargesheet, it has been alleged that the Hooda government allotted the plot in violation of norms.

The central agency alleged that the re-allotment of an institutional plot in Sector 6, Panchkula had caused a loss of Rs 67 lakh to the exchequer. Hooda was then chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and Motilal Vora was chairman of AJL when land was alotted to the company at lower prices.

The 3,500 square feet plot was given on lease to AJL in 1982. However, no construction took place on it till 1992. HUDA took back the possession in 1996 after the lease expired.
The chargesheet alleged that the same plot was re-allotted to the AJL at its original rates in 2005. The re-allotment of land was done against legal opinion, the FIR had stated.
The case was initially taken up by the Haryana State Vigilance Bureau. An FIR was filed in 2016 against Hooda and four HUDA officials. The CBI took over the investigation of the case in April 2017. The agency, in October this year, sought permission to prosecute Hooda in the case.

AJL’s historic past 

It is a group that runs the National Herald newspaper. The AJL is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders, including members of the Gandhi family.

Associated Journals Limited (AJL) is an unlisted public company limited by shares, incorporated on 20 November 1937. It was the brainchild of India’s first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. It was started with the support of about 5,000 freedom fighters who became shareholders of AJL.

Apart from Nehru, AJL’s Memorandum of Association was signed by political stalwarts such as Purushottam Das Tandon, Acharya Narendra Dev, Kailash Nath Katju, Govind Ballabh Pant. The company did it want to be associated with any business except news. AJL had 1,057 shareholders as of 29 September 2010 as per the annual return filed by the company with the Registrar of Companies.

Motilal Vora has been the chairman and managing director of AJL since 22 March 2002.

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