The Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi. (File Photo)
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today searched 10 locations in Delhi and Haryana in connection with its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in land acquisition in Gurgaon's Manesar. The ED is probing a case that claimed farmers and land owners were cheated of Rs 1,500 crore. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been named as an accused in a first information report (FIR) filed in September last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED officials said searches were carried out on the premises of eight people including Indian Administrative Service officers, Haryana government officials and builders. The searches were conducted at 10 locations in Delhi, Gurgaon and a few other places in Haryana, a senior official said.
The ED filed a criminal complaint against Bhupinder Singh Hooda based on an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The CBI had last year registered a case on allegations that some private builders, in conspiracy with unidentified officials of the Haryana government, had purchased 400 acres in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula villages in Gurgaon district at throwaway prices between 2004 and 2007, after threatening the land owners that the plots would otherwise be acquired by the government.
It was alleged that the land owners suffered a cumulative loss of Rs 1,500 crore.
The CBI had alleged that initially the Haryana government issued a notification under the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land measuring 912 acre for setting up an industrial township. After this, all the plots were allegedly grabbed from the land owners by private builders at meagre rates.
It was also alleged that an order was then passed by the director of industries on August 24, 2007 releasing this land from the acquisition process in violation of the government's policy. The land was allegedly released in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original land owners, according to the complaint.
The CBI has alleged in its FIR that using this method, land measuring 400 acres whose market value then was above Rs 4 crore per acre, was allegedly purchased by private builders and others from land owners for only Rs 100 crore.