New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the CBI to investigate the release of land in Haryana’s Rohtak to a real estate developer under the then Congress government of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In 2002, about 850 acres was proposed for acquisition for residential and commercial sectors in Rohtak by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). However, in April 2005, the award was passed for 422 acres. In March 2005, realtor Uddar Gagan Properties Ltd entered into collaboration agreements with some farmers, whose land was supposed to be acquired for development of a colony.

The realtor had applied for a licence to develop a colony on 280 acres. In June 2006, the licences were granted by the town and country planning director. Following the grant of licences, the corresponding land was released from acquisition. The licences were remitted to the builder, which led to execution of sale deeds in favour of the builder through power-of-attorney holder of the landowners.

On Wednesday, a bench of Justices U.U. Lalit, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose passed the order for a CBI probe into matter, in a trouble for former Haryana CM Hooda.

In 2016, the top court had already quashed the decision to drop the acquisition of land and directed transferring the licence in favour of HUDA, which was supposed to carry out development of residential and commercial sectors in Rohtak. The top court had then asked the state government to investigate into the legality of the action against those who illegally entertained the applications of the builder and released the land to it.

In March 2018, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had called for a CBI probe in the matter, but later he backed down, and the government ordered an inquiry by a retired judge. In 2017, a probe was conducted by a retired IAS officer Rajan Gupta, which did not fix anybody responsibility in the matter, and rather termed it a systematic failure.

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