Chandigarh: The Haryana government has been ordered to cancel the allocation of 350 acres of land in Gurgaon to real estate major DLF. The verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court further will add another ding to the credibility of the state's Congress government, which has been accused of allowing sweetheart land deals between DLF and Robert Vadra, the entrepreneur son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The assignment of 350 acres of prime property in the Wazirabad had been challenged by villagers who claim they were told that the government was acquiring their land for a recreational park.
Instead, the land was given to DLF which planned to develop golf courses and villas for commercial sale.
The state government headed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had also been accused by the villagers and activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal of favouring DLF over two other bidders for the same property.
The court today has asked the government to invite fresh bids for the property.
The government's consultants valued the land and set a reserve price of nearly 1700 crores. When only DLF was deemed eligible by a government committee, its bid which was almost identical was accepted - so the government appears to have accepted a poor offer.
In a statement, DLF said it is waiting for a copy of the verdict and it would " like to clarify that the said land was allotted to DLF after two rounds of International Competitive Bidding process."
Ashok Khemka, a senior bureaucrat in Haryana who handled land records in an earlier posting has alleged that the Hooda administration allowed Mr Vadra to strike illicit land deals in Gurgaon which allowed him windfall gain.Mr Khemka has alleged a long campaign of vendetta by the government, which transferred him. The government has rejected the charges and has declared Mr Vadra's deals with DLF were clean.
Haryana votes soon for its next government. The BJP won seven of the state's 10 seats in the national elections that were held in May.