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Haryana

Gurugram Mall: HC orders CBI to probe permissions

July 11, 2020 06:52 AM

COURTESY HT JULY 11

Gurugram Mall: HC orders CBI to probe permissions
ORDER: Permissions to set up the commercial complex quashed by the court
Hitender Rao

hrao@hindustantimes.com

Chandigarh: : The Punjab and Haryana high court ordered on Friday an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the permissions granted for the construction of Ambience Mall in Gurugram and quashed a number of orders that paved the way for the building of the commercial complex on the site.

The high court quashed the October 18, 2001 de-licensing orders, the October 16, 2001 orders to grant permission to build a commercial complex, and the September 1, 2010 orders for taking out another 3.9 acre out of the original 18.98 acre residential area for another commercial complex.

“The probability of connivance between the builder and the town and country planning department (TCPD) cannot be ruled out in view of de-licensing of area meant for residential purposes and allocating the same to commercial projects.

The sequence of events points to a prior meeting of minds between the builder and the officials. There has been undue enrichment of the builder perhaps with the active involvement of the state officials. However, this aspect needs to be investigated by an expert agency,’’ said a division bench of justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh.

The high court ordered that officers chosen by the Central Bureau of Investigation director within six weeks will start investigating the issue after registering a formal First Information Report and said efforts should be made to complete the investigation within six months.

The bench also asked for a status report to be submitted within three months.

As per the court’s order, Haryana’s TCPD director on May 6, 1996 granted approval to erect a residential building on a 18.98-acre plot for a group housing scheme in accordance with the building plan submitted by the builder.

On the basis of this letter, the builder issued a brochure in 1998 promising a number of amenities to the buyers, including reserving 80% area of the plot for open and community services.

But later, the builder gave an application seeking de-licensing of eight acres out of the 18.98 acres, with further permission for erection of commercial complex thereon, the high court said

“Ignoring all statutory provisions and throwing caution to winds, the authorities acted more promptly than expected.

The order granting permission on eight acres to establish a commercial complex was passed on Oct 16, 2001 two days before the order to de-license the same area was passed on Oct 18. This showed a preconceived plan for a commercial complex to be raised within the area licensed for residential complex,’’ the bench said.

“This fraudulent exercise had a cascading effect on the project resulting into non-adherence to floor area ratio (FAR), lack of open spaces, reduced width of streets and absence of community buildings and schools,’’ the court said.

The case was filed in 2012 by a resident of Ambience lagoon condominium, said Sanjay Lal, vice president, Lagoon residents apartment complex association. “We have lost open areas, green areas our condominium because this land was diverted to build a commercial tower. We hope the CBI enquiry will reveal all the wrongdoings and justice will be done,” he added.

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