Sharks grab 2,800 acres of B'lore land

As many as 428 cases of concocted land grant files were unearthed by the Revenue Dept

Sharks grab 2,800 acres of B'lore land

An internal drive by the Revenue Department to check the authenticity of land grant instances in and around Bangalore has revealed that land sharks have grabbed 2,804 acres of government prime land worth more than Rs 5,000 crore in the real estate market, by creating fake documents.

The exercise was taken up in September last, following suspicion raised by the Task Force for Protection of Government Lands headed by former additional chief secretary V Balasubramanian that thousands of acres of government land in Bangalore (Urban) had been encroached upon using bogus documents.

In all, the department has found 428 cases of concocted land grant files in the five revenue taluks coming under the Bangalore Urban district- Bangalore (north), Bangalore (north - additional), Bangalore (south), Bangalore (west) and Anekal. A land grant is a gift of real estate from the government usually to agriculturists under various enactments from time to time. The enactment prevailing as on date is the Karnataka Land Grant Rules, 1969.

In September last, it was noticed that in many land grant files maintained at the DC’s office, there were no records pertaining to eligibility for grant, availability of land, and reports and recommendations from the taluk office as required under Karnataka Land Grant Rules. In September last, the office of the Special DC, Bangalore Urban, identified as many as 1,167 instances pertaining to a total of 9,900 acres where there was an element of doubt regarding the authenticity of documents.

As many as 60 teams were constituted to verify documents pertaining to these instances. Inputs from these teams were used by a committee headed by the Bangalore (urban) deputy commissioner and after scrutiny, 428 cases of the 1,167 instances were confirmed as fraudulent.

Null and void

The committee - in its report submitted to the principal secretary, revenue department - has recommended that the government immediately take possession of the 2,804 acres and declare the possession by claimants as null and void.

It has further recommended that jurisdictional tahsildars file criminal cases against persons who had illegally transferred government land to their names under Section 192 (A) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act.

Conviction by a judicial magistrate first class under this clause is punishable with an imprisonment for three years and a fine of up to Rs 10,000.

The committee found that in several cases, the land grant lacked supporting documentation.

The basic proof for land grant is the entry made in dharkhast register and saguvali chits register maintained in the taluk office. In addition, the applications for land grant have to be verified by the taluk office regarding eligibility and local enquiry made by revenue inspectors regarding objections, among others.

However, it was found that even though there was no land grant made, revenue officials had made entries in the RTC forms.

Bangalore (north-additional) taluk has the highest land grab cases with 1,204 acres being gobbled by 609 persons in 41 villages.

In Bangalore West taluk, which has developing areas like K R Puram and Varthur, Bidarahalli, 840 acres had been grabbed using bogus documents.

 

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