These lands were taken from Gurgaon farmers during 2004-2007 at throwaway prices causing a loss of over Rs 1,500 crore to the national exchequer.
The official said that separate Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) teams searched the homes and offices of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, two former IAS officers, including Principal Secretary M. L. Tayal and UPSC member Chattar Singh, and a serving IAS official S.S. Dhillon in Delhi and Haryana’s Gurgaon, Rohtak, Chandigarh and Panchkula areas.
Sources said that the CBI finally decided to conduct the raids following statements its officials recorded from several farmers and government officials linked to the case.
“Most of the farmers and officials had made allegation against Hooda and Tayal, Chattar Singh and Dhillon of cheating,” the source told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Reacting to the CBI raids, Congress Party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said it was “political vendetta” and “misuse of power”.
Haryana Minister Anil Vij, however, said that the CBI was the highest investigating agency and “it is an inquiry of the previous government’s reckless distribution (land)”.
On the request of the Haryana government and directions of the central government, the CBI registered a case against unknown public servants of the Haryana government and some private persons in September 2015.
CBI sources said that the unknown accused have been booked under charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI took over the investigation of the case from Manesar police in Gurgaon that had already registered a First Information Report (FIR) against some public servants in Haryana and some private people.
“It is alleged that some private builders in conspiracy with Haryana government officials had purchased around 400 acres of land from the farmers of villages in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula in Gurgaon at throwaway prices between August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007,” said a CBI official, adding the farmers and the landowners were threatened with acquisition of their land by the government if they did not sell.
According to the official, the Haryana government had initially issued a notification under the land acquisition act for land measuring about 912 acres for setting up an industrial model township at villages in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula.
“After that, all the land had allegedly been grabbed from the landowners and farmers by the private builders under the threat of acquisition at meagre rates,” the official said.
“An order was also passed by the director of industries on August 24, 2007 releasing the land from the acquisition process but the land was released in violation of the government policy in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original landowners,” the official said.
The land whose market value at that time was above Rs 4 crore per acre, totalling about Rs 1,600 crore, was allegedly purchased by the private builders from the land owners in only about Rs 100 crore.