Advocates' Association secretary Ranganath 'lands' in trouble

The secretary of the Bangalore Advocates’ Association A P Ranganath, his parents and his sister were reportedly granted four acres of land each by Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Bagair Hukum Land Grant Committee.

The murky Bagair Hukum land deal, which is already haunting Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy and his wife K Prabha, has landed Ranganath, his father Padmanabhaiah, mother Lakshmidevamma and sister A P Mamatha in trouble. Also in soup is R Ashoka who has been made the prime accused in a case registered by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF).

Documents show that Ranganath and his family members were given four acres of land each in survey number 35 of BM Kaval village in Kengeri hobli of Bangalore South taluk under a government scheme meant to provide land to only those families which own less than five acres of land. Another criteria is that the annual family income should not exceed Rs 20,000.

And when Ranganath applied for land in 1998, the condition was that the family income should not be more than Rs 8,000 per annum.

The complainant, Honnanjappa of Hesaraghatta, stated that as the chairperson of the Bagair Hukum Land Grant Committee, Ashoka created documents, abused his official powers and granted four acres of land each in survey number 35 of BM Kaval, in favour of the accused.

Based on the complaint, the BMTF registered a case of cheating, conspiracy and corruption against the five including Ashoka and Ranganath under Sections 420, 120 (B), 468 and 471 IPC read with sections 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

‘No wrongdoing’

 Reacting to the registration of FIR, A P Ranganath said he alone was not a party to the transaction, but there were four other important people who benefited from the Bagair Hukum land. He set dismissed the allegations of any wrongdoing.

“There is no such condition that the land should be given to only landless farm labourers. Except for this piece of land, we do not possess any other land. We are eligible for it. In 1998, our family income was really below Rs 8,000 per annum,” said Ranganath.

A top bureaucrat said the sole purpose of imposing conditions for land grant was to ensure that landless farm workers get the land and survive by farming. Allotment of land to well-to-do families amounts to gross misuse of power, he said.

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