The illegal acquisition of land of nearly 912 acres in Haryana by private builders under a land acquisition process initiated by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government between 2004 and 2007, was set aside by the Supreme Court on Monday. The land was acquired from three villages - Manesar, Lakhnoula and Naurangpur, for the purpose of setting up an industrial township. The Court declared it as a fraudulent use of power. It also ordered the Central Bureau of investigation to conduct an inquiry and ordered the State and Central Governments to recover everything acquired and turn it over to the State Government.
Between 2004 and 2007, after the acquisition was notified, many farmers had sold their lands at a minimal price to private builders. The lands were initially purchased for around INR 25 lakh per acre, but later the price rose to INR 80 lakh per acre. Finally, DLF Home Developers Ltd. purchased the land at the rate of 4.5 crores per acre. In August 2007, just two days before the ward was scheduled to be announced, the Hooda government canceled the acquisition.
The bench of Justice A.K. Goel and Uday Lalit said that the acquisition was withdrawn with fraudulent intention after the land was purchased by the private builders in collaboration with state functionaries. It further stated that the entire acquisition proceedings were initiated with mala fide intention, illegally and in violation of the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.
While passing its judgment, the Supreme Court indicated that many entities including some ‘middlemen’ received huge profits from this. The builders and the private entities were aware that the acquisition would not go through, but the landholders were influenced to involve into the transaction.
Passing the judgment, the Court declared that the land would not be returned to the landholders who had received compensation; rather the land would be vested with the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Haryana Industrial Development Corporation. The Court further stated that the builders and private entities are not entitled to recover any money which they have paid to the landowners.
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