SC asks CBI to probe the fraud played on landholders in Haryana

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 13, 2018

In 2004, the Haryana government chose to acquire land measuring about 912 acres in three villages namely, Manesar, Lakhnoula and Naurangpur, at Gurgaon for setting up Chaudhari Devi Lal Industrial Township.

Three years later, when the land had been taken over by builders, the Hooda government suddenly dropped acquisition proceedings to allow realtors to become owners of vast tracts of land to execute profitable housing and other projects. All licences granted in respect of lands covered by the deemed award of August 26, 2007 will stand transferred to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC). Using this "smoke screen", builders coerced land owners to sell 400 acres at a throwaway price of Rs 100 crore against a market price of Rs 1,600 crore. The bench quashed all sale deeds, release orders and other contracts issued to the private builders, who the judges said can not recover any money they paid the land owners.

"The record indicates that various entities including certain "middlemen" cornered unnatural gains and walked away with huge profits taking the entire process of acquisition for a ride", the bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit observed. "Buyers from whom money was collected by builders will either be entitled to refunds or plots/apartments", the order said. "The unnatural and unreasonable bargain was forced upon the landholders by creating façade of impending acquisition".

"There was an unholy nexus between the government machinery and the builders/private entities in devising a modality to deprive the innocent and gullible landholders of their holdings and jeopardise public interest, which the acquisition was meant to achieve", Justice Lalit said in the 97-page judgement authored by him on behalf of the bench.

The top court passed various directions including in connection with the transactions entered into between landholders and the builders and private entities concerned in the present case were not voluntary and were brought about by fraudulent influence. "The motive was to confer undue advantage on the builders/private entities".

According to a report in The Economic Times, this was a malafide exercise of power exercised by the state government in Haryana. "These decisions were nothing but fraud on power", it said.

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