'Historic' Nice judgement rekindles hopes of farmers

'Historic' Nice judgement rekindles hopes of farmers

 T J Abraham, the complainant in the Special Lokayukta Court against the irregularities in Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project, was elated after the judgement.

“The Prevention of Corruption Act does not become effective if we do not attach the property that has been taken away illegally. The soul of the Act becomes real this way and it has happened for the first time in the country. And I am very proud,” he said.
Abraham, who argued for over 18 days for an average 90 minutes each day is now getting ready for another big round of exercise.

Following the Court’s direction to him to issue a public notice to all interested parties, he will now be collecting information from others who have contested cases against the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (Nice).

“I will get details from all the people who have lost their lands and cases in the Court. I will be compiling the information and more cases will be filed now,” he said.

The number of people who have been involved in a protracted litigation with the Nice is high. Everyone has lost their cases in the High Court as well as the Supreme Court. Although many of them continue to be present at the Lokayukta court to follow the arguments of the case.

 “When we fought the case, we had no idea of the large-scale scam that took place either in the acquisition process and nor did we have access to any of the documents.

Now with the Right to Information Act and this case, we have a better chance of presenting our case,” said Nagabhushan, a farmer, who lost his land to the Nice project. He also lost the case he had filed against the Nice in the court.

Advocate K V Dhananjay, who also argued some parts of the case, said: “There is no doubt that this project was a massive fraud. This attachment is a historic decision. For decades together, we have not seen an order of this magnitude,” he said.

Another aspect brought out during the presentation of the case was the role of advocate R V S Naik of King and Patridge, a shareholder in the Nice and a beneficiary.

Abraham had argued that though Naik or his firm could represent or advise the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) before any forum, Tribunal or Court in connection with land acquisition for the benefit of NICE, they have represented the KIADB in more than 68 cases before the High Court and various other forums and Tribunals.

Abraham had contended that these representations were made in specific cases where the KIADB and the Special Land Acquisition Officer had acquired land for Nice and were fighting against dispossessed land owners.

The Court while taking notice of this fact, stated that it had to be taken before the appropriate forum and no action could be taken against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A Nice spokesperson told Deccan Herald that their lawyers have advised them against commenting on the judgement. “...We have been asked to stay away from discussing this matter. We will soon apply and get a copy of the judgement and take up the matter before the High Court,” he said.

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