Friends and relatives of Haryana CM get prized Panchkula industrial plots

HoodaHaryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. (Reuters)

In yet another instance of the influential gaining from their apparent proximity to power, 11 of 14 people allotted prized industrial plots near Chandigarh are either known or related to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, it has emerged.

Among them are the widow of Hooda's nephew, the son of the CM's secretary, the daughter-in-law of his officer on special duty, the son of a close aide, relatives of two Congress leaders and the daughter-in-law of a high court judge.

The allotments were made by the Haryana Urban Development Authority in July and approved by Hooda himself as chairman of the authority on the recommendation of a standing committee.

The plots are located in Industrial Area, Phase-1 of Panchkula and are in two sizes: 1,000 sq m costing Rs 64 lakh and 496 sq m at Rs 31.74 lakh. The market price of a 1,000 sq m plot in the area is around Rs 6 crore.

Under the rules of the allotment, those who got the plots are allowed to sell, gift or mortage them with the permission of HUDA after fully paying the allotment amount.

The chief minister, however, defended the allotments and denied favouritism. "Whatever allotments have been made, they are totally based on merit. As far as Renu Hooda is concerned, she is a widow and yes she is my relative and I know her," Hooda told The Indian Express.

"As far as the others are concerned, the entire Haryana is known to me. There is nothing wrong in it. If anybody is aggrieved, he can go to court. We will abide by the court's orders. There is no issue in this," he said.

During the allotment process, the applicants were given marks out of a maximum of 65 to create a merit list. And 25 of the 65 marks were reserved for an oral interview, 10 for "financial capability" and 15 for "product capability skills".

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