The Punjab and Haryana High Court has told Congress veteran Motilal Vora that he can approach it for relief if the Enforcement Directorate tries to arrest him in connection with alleged money laundering in land allotment to Associated Journals Limited (AJL). The court refused to entertain for now a plea by the 86- year-old national treasurer of the Congress to restrain the agency from arresting him. It appears that there is no intention of ED to arrest him, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar and Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal said yesterday, adding that his prayer for interim relief will not been taken up at this stage. “In case any attempt is made to arrest him (by ED), he can file an application before the court,” the bench observed. The case would now come up for hearing on July 19.
Vora had been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate after he was summoned in his capacity as the Chairman and Managing Director of the AJL in connection with alleged irregularities in allotment of the plot to the company, which is the publisher of the National Herald newspaper, in Panchkula, Haryana, in 2005.
The agency had, last year, filed a criminal complaint and booked former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, AJL officials and others on charges of alleged money laundering, taking cognisance of a Haryana State Vigilance Bureau FIR. Vora and AJL had moved the HC seeking quashing of the enforcement case investigation report registered by the ED.
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The CBI in April this year registered a case of criminal breach of trust by a public servant, cheating and criminal conspiracy against Hooda, the then Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) chairman, an ex-officio post held by him as the CM, and four other top officials of HUDA. Hooda had termed the action as “political vendetta” and said there was no wrongdoing. The plot had been initially allotted to AJL in 1982.
After the expiry of the lease period in 1996, the then Haryana Vikas Party government led by Bansi Lal took back its possession. It was re-allotted to AJL under the regime of Congress-led by Hooda after the party came to power in 2005. It was alleged that the act by the then HUDA chairman and the officials had caused a huge financial loss to HUDA as the plot should have been sold through open auction instead of being alloted again to AJL.