Officer alerted CM office on land grab

Officer alerted CM office on land grab

Yeddyurappa has staunchly defended the huge flow of donations a family trust has received, but he may find himself in a tight spot now that revelations have surfaced that the real estate developer, which donated the money, had encroached upon a Bangalore tank bund.

Documents show that the Karnataka Public Lands Corporation (KPLC) had twice earlier cautioned the chief minister’s office that Adarsha Developers had encroached a tank bund in Devarabeesanahalli. Significantly, the Opposition parties, especially the JD(S), had alleged that Adarsha Developers, donated Rs 5.4 crore to Prerana Trust run by Yeddyurappa’s family members.

It is the Opposition’s case that it is immoral to take donations from a real estate agency accused of land grab. Contrary to what the documents suggest, Yeddyurappa on Tuesday said there was no encroachment.

While functioning as Revenue Department secretary and as KPLC ex-officio managing director as also as member secretary to the Task Force for Protection of Government Land, IAS officer V Manjula had written to the chief minister’s office that if it did not intervene to act against land encroachers, officers will not be left with any moral courage to initiate action against them.

In a three-page letter of June 7, 2010, to chief minister’s principal secretary I S N Prasad, Manjula had said that acting on a complaint, the task force had found that survey number 18 of Devarabeesanahalli was a tank bed measuring 13 acres and 35 guntas. Releasing Manjula’s letter to the media on Wednesday, JD (S) leader Y S V Datta said not only the IAS officer but the teshildar and the surveyor were transferred to north Karnataka and Maddur, respectively.

After three meetings,  attended by the Bangalore urban deputy commissioner, the commissioners of the BDA and BBMP as well as the officials from the civic body’s Mahadevapura branch and the KIADB, the task force forwarded the complaint to the tehsildar concerned to take necessary action.

While the BBMP was entrusted with maintaining the lake and was expected to fence it, the Bangalore (East) tehsildar’s report on survey number 18 found that 10 guuntas had been encroached upon by Adarsha Developers. However, some BBMP officials felt the extent of land grab was much more.

Before a second survey got underway, the first surveyor was issued notice and charges framed against him for colluding with the developer. The second survey showed 19.69 guntas had been encroached upon by Adarsha and two others.

The task force then forwarded its report to the BBMP commissioner on April 6, 2010, with the recommendation that the lake be fenced. When subsequent inspection revealed that collusion between local BBMP officials and Adarsha Developers, the task force moved to have the lake fenced, leaving aside 13.21 guntas of encroached land. Manjula’s letter reveals that the encroachment was in the form of a form partially constructed road on the lake land used exclusively by Adarsha Developers which controls access to it.

A notice was, therefore, issued to the BBMP under Section 192-A of the Karnataka Land Revenue (KLA) Act for initiating criminal action against Adarsha.

The retired IAS officer’s letter says, “If we turn Nelson’s eye to encroachments by powerful people and developers (this is the second case concerning a developer where the chief minister’s office has intervened), we will have no moral courage to initiate action against any other encroacher”, she wrote.

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