Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today claimed the BJP government in the state has unleashed “political vendetta” against its opponents to “divert” people’s attention from its own failures. The CBI yesterday had questioned Hooda for nearly nine hours in connection with the Manesar land deal case in which land-owning farmers were allegedly caused a loss of about Rs 1,500 crore. Asserting that he has done no wrong in the land deal case, the Congress leader said he too is a victim of “political vendetta”. “People voted for the BJP with high hopes. But, as it has failed to meet their expectations, it is now unleashing political vendetta,” he told reporters here.
Facing heat in the alleged re-allotment of a plot to Associated Journals Limited (AJL) in Panchkula in 2005 and with various land deals in Haryana during his tenure as the chief minister coming under the scanner, Hooda said, “I have said this earlier too that political vendetta is being unleashed against me.” “This is vendetta and witch hunt. Nothing wrong has been done during my tenure (as the chief minister) and in every case rules were followed,” he said. Hooda claimed that the BJP government’s agenda is to level accusations, defame, work with vendetta, slap false cases, start mudslinging campaign and try to muzzle opponents’ voices.
“The only credit which can be given to the state government is frequently transferring its officials, indulging in vendetta politics against opponents and changing names of existing schemes and cities,” he said. The CBI had registered the case in September 2015 on allegations that private builders in collusion with unidentified officials of the Haryana government had purchased around 400 acres from farmers and land owners of village in Manesar, Naurangpur and Gurgaon at throwaway prices. The land was purchased allegedly on the threat of acquisition by the government, between August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007.
The CBI in its FIR claimed that in the said manner, about 400 acres land whose market value at that time was above Rs 4 crore per acre, totalling around Rs 1,600 crore, was allegedly purchased by private builders and others from land owners for only about Rs 100 crore. “Truth will come out. I have not alloted the land to anyone. We did not acquire anything. As regards their allegation that private builders in conspiracy with unidentified officials of the Haryana government had purchased the land, let them make the names of the officials public,” Hooda said. Claiming that the present BJP government in Haryana released 3,600 acres of land in Bawal that too after award for the land was announced, he said, “But they are silent on this.”
Asserting that the Khattar government has failed on all fronts, Hooda said, “Earlier, I used to give them a zero for their poor performance, but now, I am compelled to give them negative marks.” On Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s upcoming visit to Singapore and Hong Kong to attract investments, Hooda said, “It reminds me of King Bruce and the spider story. All I can say is that the chief minister must try, try and not give up. They may have failed to bring any investment for the state in the past, but if this time they are able to do so, I will be happy.”
He also alleged that the law-and-order situation in Haryana has worsened in the last two years and the gang rape and brutal murder of the 23-year-old woman from Sonipat has shaken everyone. “People of the state, especially women, are feeling insecure. In this scenario, who will want to come here and invest?,” the Congress leader asked. Terming the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal as the lifeline of Haryana, Hodda said the question of talks with Punjab does not rise and Haryana should put pressure on the Centre to get the canal completed at the earliest because the Supreme Court’s verdict is clearly in its favour. “We must get our due share,” he said.