Special Judge Jagdeep Singh fixed December 10 as the next date of hearing in the case, according to an advocate representing Hooda. He said the two Congress leaders were present in the court.
A special Enforcement Directorate court in Panchkula granted regular bail to Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress leader Motilal Vora in the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) land allotment case on Wednesday. Special Judge Jagdeep Singh fixed December 10 as the next date of hearing in the case, according to an advocate representing Hooda. He said the two Congress leaders were present in the court. During the previous hearing on October 30, the court had granted them interim bail till November 6. The Enforcement Directorate had in August 2019 filed its first charge sheet indicting Vora and Hooda for alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to AJL in Panchkula.
A prosecution complaint was filed before a special court for the cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Panchkula near Chandigarh, the federal probe agency had said earlier. The agency, in its first charge sheet, named Vora, Hooda and AJL charging that they were “directly involved in the process and activity connected with the acquisition and possession of the proceeds of the crime”. Vora, a Rajya Sabha member, is a Congress general secretary. Hooda has been Haryana chief minister for two terms between 2005 and 2014.
The money laundering case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the re-allotment of a plot, located in Panchkula, to AJL by the then Hooda government. Under the provisions of the Prevention of Money laundering Act, the ED has already attached the plot with estimated value of Rs 64.93 crore. “Hooda favoured AJL by granting them three undue extensions for construction on the said plot from May 2008 to May 10, 2012 and then until AJL completed the construction in the year 2014,” the ED had said in a statement earlier. The agency had charged that Hooda allotted the pot to AJL by “blatantly misusing his official position”.
The former Haryana chief minister, it was alleged, “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 and policy of HUDA (Haryana Urban Development Authority) vide order dated August 28, 2005.” The ED filed a criminal complaint of money laundering in this case in 2016 based on a CBI FIR, which had taken over the investigation into the case at the request of the BJP government in Haryana. The Central Bureau of Investigation has already filed a charge sheet against Hooda and others in this case.
The plot was allotted to AJL first in 1982. But the allotment was revoked by the estate officer of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) by an October 1992 order because AJL had failed to comply with the conditions of the allotment letter, the ED had said. The agency had questioned the two Congress leaders in the case.