The ABW Manesar Allottee Welfare Society has filed a review petition under Section 51 of the Civil Procedure, 1908, for clarification on the Supreme Court order dated March 12, 2018 regarding the Manesar land scam case. The aforementioned order has reversed the decision to scrap the acquisition, and ruled that ownership of the land now rests with Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC).
One of the petitioners, Naresh Jindal, said the court had directed that applicants could either apply for possession from Huda/HSIIDC, or seek refund from the aforesaid authorities. However, there’s no clarity on the interest applicable or mention of a timeline. “If a refund is sought by us applicants, we should be entitled to interest on the refund amount. But the rate of such interest has not been provided in the SC order,” said Jindal. Similarly, the order does not provide a fixed timeline for HSIIDC to complete construction and hand-over possession.
Homebuyers have further questioned whether buyers seeking refund should be eligible for 12% interest per year or not, and that the court should fix a deadline for completion of construction. “We have requested the court to set a deadline for completion of construction, which is to be carried out by government authorities, so that homebuyers do not have to wait another decade to get their homes,” said T S Rawat, another homebuyer.
Out of the 400 acre land under the Manesar scam, a big chunk was brought by ABW developers to build their project ABW Aditya Niketan. More than 2,000 homebuyers have invested in this project, but construction hasn’t even started.
Homebuyers have also highlighted that only recently, some private entities have got HSIIDC land registered in their names. “While the Court had appointed HSIIDC/Huda as custodian of the 400 acre land, there have been reports that parts of this land have been registered in private names, which is a concern,” said Madeep Negi, another homebuyer.
TOI had earlier reported that less than two months after the Supreme Court order in the Manesar land scam, a portion of the 400 acre land, whose ownership the SC had vested with HSIIDC, was sold off by private individuals through 20 different registries at the Manesar tehsil office. A tehsildar, a nayab tehsildar, a registry clerk and two computer operators were involved in the land deals, which were signed from March 14. Once it became public, even though the state government swiftly inquired into the matter and suspended the tehsildar and other junior employees, homebuyers are worried this could affect them.
Meanwhile, HSIIDC has missed the two month deadline to verify ownership claims of homebuyers who had bought properties in the land in question. SC said applicants had a month to file their claims on properties and the government body had to verify these within two months of judgement. However, almost three months later, the process is yet to be completed.
The Manesar land deals happened in 2004, when the B S Hooda-led Congress government had withdrawn a notification for acquiring 688 acre, after initially issuing it. Meanwhile, the prospect of acquisition triggered distress sales among landowners, who were persuaded that selling out to private developers would fetch them a better price. By the time the state rescinded the notification, builders had managed to buy 400 acre for Rs 100 cr, where the market value was Rs 1,600 cr.