ED files fresh chargesheet in Manesar land scam PMLA case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Sunday said it has filed a fresh chargesheet in the money-laundering case related to “illegal” acquisition of land in Haryana’s Manesar with the alleged connivance of senior government functionaries and bureaucrats.

This is the second supplementary prosecution complaint or chargesheet in the case and it contains the details of attachment of assets of the accused worth Rs 108.79 crore and the alleged perpetration of money laundering, it said.

The chargesheet has been filed before a special court set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, and names 13 individuals and entities.

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The ED, in a statement, said it has named private builders and entities like Atul Bansal of ABW Infrastructure Limited, the company ABW Infra Limited (ABWIL), Bansals’s wife Sona Bansal, Mahamaya Exports Private Limited, Shashikant Chaurasia, Dilip Lalwani, Varinder Uppal, Vijay Uppal, Viney Uppal, Ravinder Taneja, TDI Infrastructure Limited, Wisdom Realtors Private Limited and AB Rephcons Infrastructure Private Limited.

Several farmers and land owners alleged that they were cheated to the tune of about Rs 1,500 crore in this land-acquisition case, in which Congress leader and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is an accused.

The agency had filed a PMLA case in the alleged land deal scam in September, 2016 on the basis of a Haryana Police FIR.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) too is probing the case.

The ED said its probe found that “builders/private entities extorted the land from farmers and land holders on meagre rates by exhibiting the fear of acquisition”.

“Farmers and land holders under fear sold their land to such private entities, who ultimately sold the same to various builders, who obtained licences and gained handsome profits in a fraudulent manner,” it alleged.

The probe also found that most of the land was purchased by the ABWIL Group, which is “controlled” by Atul Bansal, and after obtaining licences, the company sold the licensed and un-licensed land and the licences to private developers and made huge profits.

The case pertains to the allegation that farmers and land owners of villages in Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnaula (also known as Nakhrola) had ancestral land measuring about 688 acres and “were compelled to sell approximately 400 acres” of it “to private persons at throwaway prices under the threat of acquisition by the government between August 27, 2004 and August 24, 2007”, the ED had said earlier.

It has been alleged that initially, the Haryana government issued a notification under the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land measuring about 912 acres for setting up an industrial model township.

After this, all the plots were allegedly grabbed from their owners by private builders at meagre rates.

It has also been alleged that an order was then passed by the competent authority — Director of Industries — on August 24, 2007, releasing this land from the acquisition process, in violation of the government policy and in favour of the builders, their companies and agents, instead of the original land owners.

The probe agencies found that in this manner, land measuring about 400 acres, the market value of which at that time was above Rs 4 crore per acre, was allegedly purchased by private builders and others from the land owners for only about Rs 100 crore.

The ED said its probe in the case is ongoing.

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