Haryana government stops Rs 500 crore sale of land it owns, finds fake cabinet note & letter, ET RealEstate

March 30, 2024

GURUGRAM: Two prime plots worth Rs 500 crore that were acquired by the state over a decade ago were almost sold off by some property dealers who allegedly spun an elaborate fraud with the help of govt employees to deceive the buyer with a fake cabinet note and a letter.

The fraud came to light earlier this week after senior govt officials received a tip-off about some individuals trying to ‘release’ the two govt-owned plots, located in Badshapur and Rajiv Chowk. The sale was stopped just in time.

A govt official aware of the development said on Friday that 2-3 property dealers are under the scanner and four employees of the Haryana secretariat, Gurgaon and Panchkula administrations, and revenue department are being questioned.

“An FIR is yet to be filed. We are probing,” the official said.

Sources said the bid to sell the land was flagged to revenue secretary TVS Prasad, the vigilance department, CID chief Alok Mittal and Haryana Police chief Shatrujit Kapoor this week.

On checking the documents, officials found three giveaways that proved the documents were counterfeit.

One, the letter that permitted ‘release’ of the two plots said that the topic was discussed in cabinet meetings held on December 15 and 21 last year.

No cabinet meetings were chaired that month by then CM Manohar Lal Khattar. The last time Khattar held a cabinet meeting as CM was in November 2023.

The second gap was in the details of the forged cabinet note. A cabinet note is a document that chronicles all discussions and decisions taken at a cabinet meeting.

Officials noticed that the revenue secretary’s signature was directly after the CM’s in the note. Usually, cabinet notes are signed by officials of every concerned department in a sequence based on seniority.

The revenue secretary does not rank second to the CM in the govt setup and would not have signed the note after the CM. The two who would normally sign after the CM would be the CM’s principal secretary and the chief secretary.

Third, the Khattar govt had made it a policy not to acquire land and not to release any acquired land. Instead, govt would directly purchase land at market value and it had introduced a portal – eBhoomi – for landowners to list information about their plots.

“With the help of the fake documents, and involvement of a few property dealers and officials, the accused were planning to sell the two plots,” the official said.

Gurgaon deputy commissioner Nishant Yadav said on Friday the administration has initiated an inquiry. “A matter related to release of land with the help of a fake cabinet letter has come to our knowledge. We have initiated an inquiry,” said Yadav.

Sources said they suspect that similar frauds may have been orchestrated in Rohtak and Sonipat and were being investigated.

  • Published On Mar 30, 2024 at 04:30 PM IST

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