IAS officers in dock in land use case

The Lokayukta police on Tuesday submitted a charge sheet in the case pertaining to violation of rules and illegal conversion of land in Arakere near Bannerghatta, to the Special Lokayukta Court. 

Prominent among the accused are IAS officers Subir Hari Singh, Bharat Lal Meena, Ramegowda and Veerabhadraiah, against whom allegations have been proved.

The police conducted an investigation after the Court referred a private complaint filed by ex-councillor of Hulimavu, C Lakshminarayana. Charges have been filed against 12 accused and six more will be chargesheeted after obtaining sanction from the competent authorities. Investigating officer, Lokayukta Superintendent of Police P K Shivashankar submitted more than 6,000 pages of documents, with the report itself running into more than 300 pages.

Charges have been filed against J Bhupesh Reddy and J Vijay Reddy of SJR Builders, land owners M Ramesh and his sons Satish and Ravi, General Manager of Stumpp, Schuele and Somappa Limited Shivanna, then Assistant Commissioner Krishnan, Tahsildar Narayana, Revenue Inspector Kodigowda, Town Planning Member Tirakana Gowda, Superintendent at Land Acquisition office Sriramaiah and Dasappa.  Though allegations have been proved against the four IAS officers and Shivram of Land Acquisition Office and Deputy Director of Town Planning S M Hegde, charges will be filed after obtaining sanction. 

No charges have been filed against IAS officer Siddaiah as his action of approving the plan was based on prior approval by his predecessor and he had no knowledge of the history of the land, according to the Lokayukta police. Subir Hari Singh and Meena are accused of not taking any action against the land owners and builders when it was brought to their notice that the builders had fabricated documents about land use and agreements, and instead wrote to the government to release the landowners from the conditions imposed during denotification.

In addition, SJR Builders have also been held responsible for selling 39 plots illegally after the Lokayukta commenced investigation into the case and the BDA kept the sanction plan for the apartment comples ‘Luxuria’ in abeyance.

The case 

The BDA had notified several acres of land in Arakere near Bannerghatta road for the formation of JP Nagar 9th phase in 1988. One of the landowners M R Ramesh had given an application to the BDA to denotify his seven acres and 12 guntas of land stating that a plant nursery was being maintained in that area in 1995. The BDA in August 1996 conditionally denotified that land stating that the land was not to be used for any other purpose except for the nursery. It also stated that the BDA would take back the land in the event of violation of the condition.

However in 2007, Ramesh and his two sons sold the land to SJR Builders and an application was made for the conversion of land measuring 5.13 acres for residential purposes, with the special deputy commissioner. The application for conversion was made by fabricating documents and showing that the builders and the land owners had a joint development agreement and was registered as such in the sub-registrar’s office.

Once the land was converted, the builders went ahead with the construction of an apartment complex on the plot. Meena has been named in the complaint for not cancelling the sanctioned agreement, despite the violation of the agreement brought to his notice repeatedly.

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