CBI FIR against Hooda, Associated Journals; Sr Cong leaders may be questioned
After charge sheeting Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh last week, the CBI has registered a case of criminal conspiracy and cheating against Virbhadra's neighbour ex-Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and Associated Journals Ltd, which runs National Herald, for alleged irregularities in the land allotted to the newspaper.
Associated Journals limited is reportedly controlled by senior Congress leaders including the Gandhi family through Young India Limited. AJL founded by Jawaharlal Nehru runs National Herald newspaper. According to the rules, the CBI has taken over the FIR registered by State Vigilance Bureau of Haryana registered under the charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against the then Chairman HUDA (the then Chief Minister B S Hooda), then Chief Administrator, HUDA, the then administrator, Financial Commissioner, Town and Country Planning department, Associated Journals Limited and others.
As per the procedure, the agency takes over the FIR registered by a state police or state department and carries out its own investigation. The conclusions are reached by the agency independently which may differ from the line of investigation by the state police. Based on its conclusions, the CBI might charge sheet the accused, it may add or delete an accused in the charge sheet or file a closure report if no crime is proved.
The complaint from Haryana Government, which is now part of the CBI FIR, alleged that AJL was allotted a plot in Panchkula in 1982 on which no construction took place till 1992 prompting the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to resume the plot.
The company filed an appeal against the decision which was dismissed by the Administrator HUDA on July 26, 1995. It preferred revision which was also dismissed by Commissioner, Town and Country Planning in 1996.
The FIR alleged that the then Chief Minister Hooda as Chairman HUDA abused his official position, contravened the policies and went against the advise rendered by the official to re-advertise the plot, to re-allot to AJL at original rates plus interest on August 28, 2015.