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CBI probe into Ambience Mall: HC referred to apex court orders on Haryana land cases

July 12, 2020 05:20 AM


CBI probe into Ambience Mall: HC referred to apex court orders on Haryana land cases

On Friday, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered a CBI probe into the construction of Ambience Mall. Parveen Kumar/HT Photo
HT Correspondent

Chandigarh : The Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) on Friday referred to two Supreme Court (SC) judgments pertaining to Haryana land matters when it ordered a central bureau of investigation (CBI) probe into the approval granted for the construction of Ambience Mall on the Delhi-Gurugram expressway in Gurugram.

While ordering the probe, the high court also quashed three government orders — one of October 18, 2001 by which eight acres of land permitted to build a residential project was taken out from the purview of the residential housing license, another of October 16, 2001 which gave license to build a commercial project on the eight acres, and the third of September 1, 2010 allowing another 3.9 acres of the residential project for commercial purpose.

Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh of the HC said the state government’s decision to de-notify the land that was under acquisition led to unjust enrichment of individuals and revealed unholy nexus between the builder and the state authorities.

In the Manesar land release case, 688 acres acquired for the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation for creating residential and recreational utilities in the Industrial Model Township (IMT), Manesar, was dropped from the acquisition process in 2007 on the orders of the former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. In 2018, the SC set aside the government order to drop the acquisition proceedings.

Mentioning this case, the HC said the state had enabled the builder to enter the field after initiation of acquisition to seek colonisation of the land covered by acquisition defeating the objective for which the land was acquired.

“... where power is conferred to achieve a particular purpose, same has to be exercised reasonably and in good faith. Where power is exercised for extraneous or irrelevant considerations, it would unquestionably be a colourable exercise of power,’’ the Punjab and Haryan high court said.

In 2016, the Supreme Court quashed land release orders and transferred all licences granted granted to private builder to Haryana Urban Development Authority.

The licences were given to a private builder who had sought to develop a colony on 280 acres that was initially being acquired for residential and commercial sectors in Rohtak by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda).

Referring to this, the high court said it is a settled proposition of law that fraud on power vitiates the state action. “If state seeks to do some action indirectly though it has no power to do it directly, such action cannot be sustained,’’ the high court said on Friday.

“We are exploring legal options in this matter and the court order is being studied in detail by the legal team. We will approach the higher court to seek relief in this matter,” said Raj Singh Gehlot, chairman and managing director, Ambience Developers, which has developed the Ambience Mall

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