The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a Provisional Attachment order whereby immovable properties approximately worth Rs. 37 crores of the accused persons have been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The investigation in the case known as Hoshiarpur Land Acquisition Scam was taken up by the ED, Jalandhar zonal office on the basis of an FIR registered by Vigilance Bureau in Punjab, under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, IPC 1860, in February, 2017 in connection with acquisition of land by the government in Hoshiarpur district against several private persons and government officials.
In this regard, National Highway Authority of India, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a notification on June 24, 2015 for public to know its intention to acquire the land, the description or type of land and details of owners of land and for calling of objections, if any, from the interested owners. After resolving the issues and objections, if any, the notification under section 3(D) was issued on November 1, 2015.
The investigation revealed that criminality has happened mainly on two counts: Firstly, sale and purchase of the land by the private persons in the notified area was allowed which other-wise was prohibited after the issuance of the notification by the government to acquire the land.
Secondly, the private parties named in the FIR of the LEA were paid undue and excess compensation by the Competent Authority for Land Acquisition against the acquisition of land on residential rates despite the fact that the type of Land mentioned in the notifications was agricultural.
In this manner, the said private parties got undue and excess compensation which together amounted to Rs. 37 crores. Out of the compensation amount received, the accused utilized some part for repayment of their loans and rest of the funds were diverted to their business concerns which were further utilized for repayment to creditors and other business expenses.
Thus, 60 properties belonging to the accused, including 54 vacant lands, three business premises and three residential houses have been attached by the ED. Further investigation into the matter is underway.