Division of dist, taluk gives room for land mischief

Division of dist, taluk gives room for land mischief

Insertion of fake documents in the records of the revenue department so as to grab government lands usually takes place during the division of a district or taluk.

The revenue documents are shifted to the new district or taluk, giving scope for manipulation or insertion of fake documents, according to department sources.

The unearthing of land loot to the tune of 2,804 acres in Bangalore, may just be the tip of the iceberg, they said. Another round of comprehensive scrutiny of land grant files could lead to more skeletons tumbling out of the cupboard.

A high-level committee — after scrutinising 1,167 instances pertaining to a total of 9,900 acres (worth around Rs 40,000 crore in the real estate market) where there was an element of doubt regarding the authenticity of documents—had come to the conclusion that 428 cases were fraudulent. The sources said handing over the process of scrutiny to a third party could have helped unearth more cases of fraud.

The Task Force for Protection of Government Lands headed by V Balasubramanaian had, in fact, recommended that the government order a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe into the issue. The task force had suspected the involvement of revenue department officials resulting in large-scale land grabbing.

The violations came to light when some people applied for issue of certified copies of land grant orders from the office of the deputy commissioner, Bangalore (urban). Every entry in the land grant file should have a government order accompanying it. However, the task force came across bogus saguvali (cultivation) chits, vital records pertaining to certain lands missing and insertion of ficticious documents in the registers.

Bangalore was bifurcated into Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts in 1986. As many as 36,000 files relating to theBangalore Urban district were to be transferred to Bangalore Rural district.

However, the actual transfer took place in phases. As many as 11,800 files were transferred as late as October 2010.

There have been other such bifurcations as well. Bangalore south taluk (including areas like Uttarahalli, Kengeri and Tavarekere) was bifurcated into Bangalore south and Bangalore east taluks.

Bangalore north taluk (with areas Yeshwantpur, Myadarahalli and Dasanapura) has been bifurcated into Bangalore north and Bangalore north-additional taluks.

It is in Jala hobli of Bangalore north that former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu allegedly created bogus documents and claimed compensation from the KIADB, only to face Lokayukta action.