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Attachment of AJL's Panchkula plot confirmed, ED to take possession (2nd Lead)


IANS New Delhi
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said that it will soon take possession of a plot, worth Rs 64.93 crore, in Haryana's Panchkula allotted to the Congress-promoted Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by the state government in 2005 as the adjudicating authority confirmed the attachment, officials said.
The financial probe agency has attached the land on December 1 last year.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge sheet on the same day against then Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hoodas and other for allegedly using fraudulent means to allot the land to the AJL, controlled by senior Congress leaders including members of Gandhi family. The group also runs the National Herald.
Agency officials said that the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has confirmed the provisional attachment order dated December 1, 2018 issued by the ED for plot number C-17, Sector 6, Panchkula as the same was illegally allotted to the AJL by Hooda.
According to officials, the plot was first allotted to the AJL in 1982.
"But the same was resumed back by the Estate Officer, HUDA on October 30, 1992 as the AJL did not comply with the conditions of allotment letter," the agency said in a statement.
"The resumption order attained finality after dismissal of the revision petition in 1996. However, then Chief Minister blatantly misused his official position and dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of re-allotment to the AJL at original rates plus interest in violation of necessary conditions in 2005 for Rs 59.39 lakh.
"The actual value of the property as on February 26, 2011 and July 13, 2017 is Rs 32.25 crore and 64.93 crore respectively."
The agency said that the then CM Hooda caused "wrongful loss" to the HUDA and wrongful gain to the AJL by ignoring legal opinion and recommendations of HUDA officers.
The agency alleged that Hooda did not stop here but further favoured the AJL by illegally granting them three undue extensions for construction from May 1, 2008 to May 10, 2012 until the AJL completed the construction in the year 2014.
"Now the adjudicating authority, PMLA, New Delhi has held that the defendants have committed the schedule offence, generated proceeds of crime and further found that the properties attached are proceeds of crime beyond any doubt and thereby ordered for confirmation of the provisional attachment order," it said.
With the approval, the ED is empowered to take the possession of land.
The agency officials said that if the agency wins the matter in the court, then the plot can be finally transferred to the government exchequer.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, has named senior Congress leader Motilal Vora and Hooda in connection with the alleged irregularities in the case.
The ED has questioned few people earlier in connection with the case. It had filed a money laundering case on the basis of a 2016 FIR by the CBI, which had taken over the investigation on the request of the BJP-led Haryana government.

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First Published: May 29 2019 | 7:16 PM IST

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