Shettar in a fix over action against DC

Shettar in a fix over action against DC

Vastrad allegedly issued order favouring scion and others in land deal

The State government has resolved the controversy over the ownership of a prime property on the foot of Chamundi hills in Mysore.

But the question of initiating action against the deputy commissioner (DC) of Mysore district, whose alleged illegal order favouring the scion of Mysore and other petitioners, has become a contentious issue among the senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa, who holds the Revenue portfolio, in a letter dated September 5, 2012, directed Chief Secretary S V Ranganath to transfer Mysore DC P S Vastrad soon and initiate action. The chief secretary sought Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar’s permission to take action, but Shettar has not accorded so far, sources said.

The department of personnel and administrative reforms, which handles officials’ postings, comes under  Shettar’s purview. In an order dated June 20 this year, Vastrad declared about 2,000 acres of government land on the foot of Chamundi Hills as private property of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, and others.

The deputy commissioner had also directed local tahsildars to make khatas in their names. The land worth several hundred crores, is part of the buffer zone of the Chamundi hills.  However, many elected representatives, including BJP legislator G Madhusudhana, opposed the deputy commissioner’s move.

They alleged that Vastrad had issued the order after succumbing to the real estate lobby. Based on their complaints, Eshwarappa directed Vastrad to reconsider his decision. The deputy commissioner withdrew his order on August 18.

Before directing the deputy commissioner to reconsider his decision, Eshwarappa had obtained a five-page report from the chief secretary on the issue. The report, which was reviewed by Deccan Herald, found Vastrad’s decision to declare 2,000 acres of ‘B’ kharab land (government land) as ‘A’ kharab land (private land) illegal. The chief secretary also said that only the government is vested with power to take decision with respect to ‘A’ kharab land.

Many senior BJP leaders, including a former chief minister, are learnt to have brought pressure on Shettar not to take action against the deputy commissioner. Many influential persons, including politicians, and some religious leaders of Mysore are involved in the issue, deterring the chief minister from initiating action, sources said.

Eshwarappa told Deccan Herald that the deputy commissioner doesn’t have powers to issue such an order. “Hence, I have recommended action be taken against him. I hope steps will be taken in this regard after the Dasara festival,” he said.

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