Lokayukta enquiry into Joy Ice Cream land case

Lokayukta enquiry into Joy Ice Cream land case

The state government has handed a departmental enquiry to the Lokayukta against three officials, for allegedly favouring the real estate major, Prestige Estates Projects Limited. The case is regarding the allotment of land to Joy Ice Cream Pvt Ltd by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB).

The state government had allotted three acres and 23 guntas of land in Pattandur Agrahara in K R Puram to Joy Ice Cream Ltd in 2006 for industrial purpose. Within 40 days of executing the absolute sale deed, on August 30, 2006, Joy Ice Cream Ltd sold the land to Prestige Estates Projects Limited.

The government had ordered the departmental enquiry against the officials for dereliction of duty and misconduct, after they submitted a report recommending the extension of certain relaxations to Prestige Estates Projects Ltd.

In 2014, the Lokayukta had submitted a report under section 12 (3) of the Lokyukta Act against the three officials when complaints were filed over the violation of allotment conditions by Joy Ice Cream Pvt Ltd. Taking suo muto cognisance of a news report about the misuse of Gomala lands in the city, Lokayukta had conducted the enquiry into the allotment of land in Pattandur Agrahara in K R Puram. Though the Lokayukta report was filed in 2014, the revenue department took four years to take a decision recommending a departmental enquiry.

The government order for the departmental enquiry quoted the Lokayukta report which said that instead of taking action as per section 20 (2) of the Karnataka Land Grant Rules to restore the government land, the three officials – Mahesh Babu, who was posted at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, R Lakshman Prasad, Sub-registrar and the then Shirastedar (retired as Tahasildar) – recommended to the government, the extension of relaxation to Prestige Estate Projects Ltd.  

Based on the Lokayukta report recommending departmental enquiry against the three officials, the state government had sought a detailed reply from the officials. "One of the officials, Mahesh Babu had claimed that the decision to hand over the enquiry could be deferred since the case is before the Karnataka High Court. However, it was decided to hand over the enquiry against three officials under rule 14 (A) of Karnataka Civil Services (Conduct) Rules,’’ an official said.