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CBI and ED go on overdrive

CBI and ED go on overdrive
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New Delhi/Rohtak: In more trouble for senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the CBI booked the former Haryana chief minister on cheating and corruption charges in connection with a land acquisition in Gurgaon that favoured private builders and also conducted searches at 20 locations including his Rohtak residence.

The Congress as well as Hooda, 71, hit out at the Centre over the raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI), calling it nothing but "political vendetta" to suppress his voice and defame him.

The CBI also named in the FIR Additional Chief Secretary Haryana Trilok Chand Gupta, who was the then chief Administrator, HUDA, along with 15 builders including DLF, Emaar MGF, Buzz Hotels, Ansals whose official premises were searched during the operation on Friday morning, officials said. The searches were carried out in Delhi and Gurgaon.

It booked Hooda, Gupta and the builders for alleged criminal conspiracy and cheating under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with alleged irregularities in the acquisition of land.

Hooda is already facing CBI probes in two cases that related to Manesar land acquisition and allotment of an institutional plot to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald, in Panchkula. In both the cases, charge sheets have been filed.

The third case against Hooda and others was registered on the directions of the Supreme Court on November 1, 2017 when the CBI was entrusted with the probe into alleged irregularities in the process of acquisition of 1,417.07 acres of land between 2009 and 2012 for sector 58 to 63 and 65 to 67 in Gurgaon, CBI spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.

The Congress also warned officials of various agencies to be ready for accountability for allegedly working at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to target his political opponents.

Senior spokesperson of the Congress Anand Sharma said such actions when the prime minister and the ruling dispensation "target its political opponents by using agencies against them are dangerous for democracy in our country".

In a related development, the CBI and Enforcement Directorate Friday asserted before the Delhi High Court that custodial interrogation of Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram was required in the INX Media case.

The submission was made before Justice Sunil Gaur who was hearing Chidambaram's plea seeking anticipatory bail in the corruption and money laundering cases relating to the INX Media scandal.

The High Court reserved its order and said that the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram would continue till the decision is passed on his plea for anticipatory bail. Describing the CBI as one of the "allies" of the BJP-led central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday alleged that the Centre was using the agency to harass the opposition parties throughout the country.

She called the CBI, which was yet to get a new director, "headless" and said it has now become a "spineless BJP".

"So political vendetta continues. BJP & its 'allies' comprising multiple govt agencies harassing all allies of Oppn from Kol to Delhi & beyond," Banerjee tweeted.

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