New Delhi: Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been booked by the CBI in yet another case of corruption in the 1,417-acre land acquisition exercise. The land was acquired in 2009 in Gurgaon. The investigating agency carried out searches at 20 locations, officials said on Friday.

The searched locations associated with Hooda included his residence in Rohtak.

The CBI has named Additional Chief Secretary Haryana Trilok Chand Gupta, who was the then chief administrator of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) along with 15 builders in the case, including DLF, Emaar MGF, Buzz Hotels, Ansals among others. Their official premises were searched during the operation in the morning.

Before the Congress cries “witch hunt”, it may be noted that the case was registered on the directions of the Supreme Court dated 1 November 2017. The apex court entrusted the central investigating agency with the task of probing alleged irregularities in the acquisition process of 1,417 acre of land between 2009 and 2012 for sector 58-63 and 65-67 in Gurgaon on 2 June 2009.

What Hooda did to merit a CBI probe

The Hooda government had issued notification for the acquisition of 1,417.07 acre of land situated at sector 58 to 63 and 65 to 67, Gurgaon on 2 June 2009, the agency said.

Subsequently, another notification was issued for acquisition of 850.10 acre on 31 May 2010, the officials said.

It emerged during the preliminary inquiry that the purpose of HUDA for the acquisition of land was ensuring availability of developed land at affordable prices to the public at large, especially the economically weaker sections of society. But the purpose was not served.

The CBI alleges that private builders entered in criminal conspiracy with the then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and chief administrator Trilok Chand Gupta with an intent to cheat the landowners.

In pursuance of the conspiracy, notifications for acquisition of land were issued by the government, triggering a panic sale of land to private developers at much cheaper rates than the prevailing market prices, the agency said.

According to the CBI, a large chunk of land was of no use to HUDA still it was covered in government notification. The developers used their influence to get licences issued for pockets that were not useful for HUDA and those lands were released from acquisition process. The Hooda government had issued notification for the acquisition of a total area of 1,417.07 acre in 2009 and 850.10 acre in 2010.

During the notification period, approximately 616.40 acre of land was released in favour of developers.

Other builders booked by the agency include RS Infrastructure, Martial Builcon, Marconi Infratech, Commander Realtors, SU Estates Pvt Ltd, Krrish Buildtech, JMD Ltd, Gupta Promoters, H S Realty, DSS Infrastructure and Sana Realtors.