Lokayukta apprehends influencing of witnesses in KIADB case

Lokayukta apprehends influencing of witnesses in KIADB case

"We apprehend the witnesses might be influenced or threatened," Hegde told reporters here while giving details that led to yesterday's arrest of Jagdish for trying to influence a witness in a case pertaining to irregularities in payment of compensation to land owners by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB).

The Lokayukta, he said, would try to overcome the apprehension by recording the statements of the witnesses in front of a magistrate and protecting the witnesses.
On the next course of action following the arrest, he said it would try and defend its case and would object granting of bail to Jagdish.

To a query whether the Lokayukta faced any political pressure over the case, he said, "no".According to him, the scam as of now was estimated to be around Rs 75 crore-Rs 100 crore.

The minister's wife had bought 13 acres of land for nine lakh, which the KIADB acquired for four crore, while Jagdish had bought around one half acre of land for a paltry sum, which was acquired by KIADB for over Rs 40 lakh, he said.

Hegde said the scam involved forging of documents and selling it to 'powerful' persons who in turn sold it to KIADB, paying compensation to bogus owners and acquiring land that had not been notified for the same.

The sleuths would interrogate other officials and persons if and when required. The focus of investigation would also be the middle men and other beneficiaries, including political beneficiaries of the compensation paid out by KIADB.

Giving details he said the complainant Ramanjanappa had informed the Lokayukta that he had received calls of threats and offering gratification not to cooperate in the KIADB case on September 28 in which Jagdish was involved. All these calls had been recorded by the complainant.

Earlier the complainant was asked to meet in the office of a company and later to come and collect the amount of Rs one lakh from the minister's personal residence, which he did after alerting the Lokayukta about the same.

He said the Lokayukta has slapped charges for trying to destroy evidence against him and his family and offering a bribe which was an offence, he said.

KIADB had acquired land for an SEZ floated by Itaska Software and US firm United Telecom. Of the 325 acres acquired, 13 acres belongs to Katta's wife and few acres to other members of the family.

One M H Soni claimed a compensation of over Rs 2 crore for a plot of land and gave Naidu's residential address as address proof. The original owner of the land however contested the claim, leading to the probe.

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