Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is among 22 people named in the Enforcement Directorate's prosecution complaint in the 2013 Panchkula industrial plot allotment scam. The agency, which investigates financial crimes, has alleged that circle rates (the lowest permissible rates for sale and purchase of property in an area) were deliberately lowered, and criteria tweaked to illegally favour acquaintances of the ex-chief minister for the allotment of 14 industrial plots worth over Rs 30 crore.
"Further investigation revealed that as a result of criminal conspiracy, the then Chief Minister, Haryana and ex-officio Chairman, HUDA, 4 retired IAS officers and other office bearers of HUDA, Panchkula, Haryana illegally benefited pre-selected acquaintances of the then CM, Haryana, by allotting them 14 Industrial Plots denying allotment to more worthy applicants," the agency said in a statement.
Four Indian Administrative Service officers have also been named in the complaint.
"Apart from Sh. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, 4 retired IAS officers namely, Sh. Dharam Pal Singh Nagal (the then Chief Administrator, HUDA), Sh. Surjit Singh (the then Administrator, HUDA), Sh. Subhash Chandra Kansal (the then Chief Controller of Finance, HUDA), Sh. Narinder Kumar Solanki (the then Zonal Administrator, Faridabad Zone, HUDA) and the other HUDA official Sh. Bharat Bhushan Taneja (the then Superintendent, HUDA) and all the 14 allottees and beneficiaries of the Industrial Plots Allocation case have been involved in the commission of the offence of Money Laundering," the agency informed.
The probe agency has alleged that to benefit the politician's acquaintances, "the price fixed for the subject allotment was kept 4-5 times below the circle rate and 7-8 times market rate."
The criteria for allotment were altered 18 days after the last date of application and when all the applications had been in the possession of the authorities, it said.
"Criteria was altered in such a way to favour the pre – selected applicants by increasing the discretion at the hands of the interview committee. The entire interview process was vitiated and compromised as no formal record of marks allocation was kept," it said.
Mr Hooda, a senior Congress leader, was the chief minister of Haryana between 2005 and 2014. He is currently the Leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly.