Itasca and the KIADB scam

The company’s Managing Director S V Srinivas is the son of V Chalapati, who is an advocate and a close associate of former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu. The company proposed to set up an IT/ITES SEZ at Bandikodigenahalli in Devanahalli on 325 acres of land in 2006, and Katta, who was Industries Minister, pushed the project.

The company allegedly colluded with Katta, his son and some officials and cheated the farmers by selling their land to the KIADB using fictitious documents. It also paid a kickback of Rs 87 crore to Katta.

Role of United Telecom

A US-based company, United Telecom entered into a partnership with Itasca to develop IT/ITES SEZ. Its promoter Basavapunnaiah is a close associate of Chalapati, father of Itasca’s MD Srinivas. United Telecom invested Rs 350 crore in the project.
Basavapunnaiah has been accused of colluding with the Kattas in cheating farmers of their lands and paying the Rs 87-crore kickback.

How Katta took such a huge bribe...

Katta floated a bogus company called Indu Builders and Developers in 2007 with the address of a petrol bunk owned by his wife Soubhagya in Hebbal. The bunk employees were the directors of this company. Itasca deposited Rs 87 crore in the bank account of Indu Builders. The Lokayukta police are in possession of documents to prove that Katta used the kickback money for his personal and family needs.

Kattas’ role in the scam

The former minister’s son Katta Jagadish filed the application of the Itasca project before Karnataka Udyog Mitra. As Industries Minister in 2006, Katta ordered the officials to place Itasca’s project proposal before the meeting of the High Level Clearance Committee (HLCC), despite several discrepancies in it. He ensured that the project was cleared.

Katta and his son sold a large extent of farmers’ land to KIADB using fictitious documents.

They also forced some farmers to sell their land to them at dirt cheap rate. The father-son duo started buying the land as early as 2004. Katta also received Rs 87 crore from Itasca as bribe.

How the scam came to light...

Munianjanappa, an aggrieved farmer, lodged a complaint on April 17, 2009, with the Bagalur police, alleging that Srinivas, Jagadish Naidu and Gopi (a middle man) cheated him while distributing the compensation. The complainant also alleged that they forcibly obtained signatures of the land-owners on the cheques and claimed the compensation.

The police tried to bury the case, but the lid was blown off the scam when a Dalit organisation from Jala hobli staged sit-ins before the Industries Department office, alleging a major scam in KIADB. An inquiry by the Industries Department Secretary revealed that KIADB had paid compensation wrongly to Srinivas and Katta Jagadish’s frontman, Soni. The Lokayukta police took up the issue in September 2010.

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