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SC Cancels Manesar Land Deals during Hooda Govt in Haryana, Terms it “Mala Fide Exercise of Power”

Manesar Land

Manesar Land

New Delhi: In a landmark judgment on land deals in the state of Haryana, the Supreme Court on Monday scrapped the decision of the former Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda to drop the land acquisition proceedings for about 600 acres of Manesar Land.

In August 2004, the Hooda government had issued a notification about 912 acres in the villages of Manesar, Naurangpur, and Lakhnoula to build an industrial township, persuading farmers to sell their land to private builders at below rates. In August 2007, two days before the government was to announce the compensation, it revoked its then order to acquire the land, leaving the private builders to profit from the plots.

The court observed ‘criminal conspiracy’ and held that ‘criminal conspirators’ had bought land from “innocent landowners” at throwaway prices. The bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit ordered that all the land acquired is free from all encumbrances. The apex court also quashed all licenses, sales, and other agreements favoring builders. “The unnatural and unreasonable bargain was forced upon the landholders by creating façade of impending acquisition. The motive was to confer an undue advantage on the builders/private entities.” said the ruling.

The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Hooda and 33 others in a case of alleged corruption in Manesar land deals worth over Rs 1,500 crore. Twenty-nine builders and companies were also named in the charge sheet. The Supreme Court also directed the CBI to investigate transactions including the unearthing of unnatural gains received by “middlemen” in the Manesar land case.

The Supreme Court also asked the Punjab and Haryana High Court to dispose of the petition challenging the constitution of SN Dhingra Commission of inquiry within two months so that public interest does not suffer by delay.