Haryana leader seeks case against AJL management, ex-CM

Chandigarh, May 3 (IANS) Leader of opposition in Haryana assembly Abhay Singh Chautala on Tuesday demanded registration of a criminal case against Congress-linked AJL and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in a land re-allotment case.

In a letter to Haryana Chief Minister Manohal Lal Khattar, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader said the trustees and directors of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) and Hooda should be booked under the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

Referring to media reports regarding plot number C-17 at Sector 6 in Panchkula near here, he said the 3,360 square metre land was re-allotted to AJL on June 29, 2005.

The plot was allotted to AJL in 1982 but resumed in 1996 after the company failed to construct a building on it.

“No sooner was the Congress voted to power in 2005, the then chief minister Hooda initiated the process of restoring the plot to AJL on a representation made on the firm’s behalf by one of the trustees,” Chautala said in the letter.

Chautala said it was evident that Hooda was advised by the administration and the legal remembrancer that there was no provision for such re-allotment. He said the land could be re-allotted afresh at prevalent rates only.

“… a prima facie cognizable criminal offence has been made out against all the above-mentioned persons. Hence, a criminal case be registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act read with Section 120-B of the IPC against Hooda and the then Haryana Urban Development Authority chairman for the illegal allotment of the plot to the AJL in Panchkula in public interest,” the opposition leader demanded.

“The AJL is a renowned organisation founded by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. The Hindi daily ‘Navjivan’, which this organisation plans to start, will serve huge public interest. It will also add yet another feature to the prestigious town of Panchkula. Therefore, the order that plot number C-17, Sector-6, Panchkula, be re-allotted to M/s Associated Journals Ltd. at original rates plus interest thereon till date,” Hooda ordered on August 28, 2005.

Documents showed that Haryana’s joint legal remembrancer Jagdeep Jain had on August 17, 2005, strongly opposed the plot’s re-allotment. However, Hooda overruled Jain’s note.

Hooda, on his part, has defended his action, saying there was “no wrongdoing and that everything was done as per the procedure”.

After the re-allotment, the AJL completed the construction on the plot. However, the proposed ‘Navjivan’ newspaper is yet to see the light of the day.

–IANS

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