BMTF registers FIR against Suresh Kumar, Krishnaiah Setty

Accused of returning land acquired under Land Ceiling Act to owner

BMTF registers FIR against  Suresh Kumar, Krishnaiah Setty

The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force has registered an FIR against Minister for Urban Development Suresh Kumar, former Housing Minister M Krishnaiah Setty and senior IAS officer V P Baligar for allegedly returning four acres 20 guntas of land, which was acquired by the government under the Karnataka Urban Land Ceiling Act to construct houses for the slum dwellers at Laggere, to the original owner.

The case was lodged based on a complaint by Dinesh Kallalli, a social worker, who stated that Kumar, in his capacity as Urban Development Minister, granted permission to return the land to the original owner, while then Housing Minister Krishnaiah Setty halted the process of constructing houses for the urban poor.

The BMTF has registered a case against the trio under Sections 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Section 157 of the CrPC on Saturday. Kallalli told Deccan Herald that in 1982, the government acquired 4.2 acres of excess land in survey number 19/2, which belonged to K Gopinath to build houses for the financially weaker and downtrodden people. In 2003, the Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) started the process of constructing houses.

When the process reached the stage of inviting tenders, the Yeddyurappa government took the decision to return the land to the original owner.

It is learnt that under the Karnataka Urban Land Ceiling Act, no one can hold more than 59 acres of land and the excess land should be confiscated. Gopinath had reportedly possessed 4.2 acres in excess, which the government took it in its custody in 1982. Once the land is in government’s custody, it cannot be returned to its original owner, although the government has the power to allot it to other individuals.

Kallalli alleged that the decision was taken to help Gopinath, who is the brother of senior RSS functionary K Narahari. He claimed that the KSDB had objected to the decision, reminding that it was not only illegal, but would also affect the weaker sections of the society. The board also said that the tender process was almost over.

However, the government set aside the objections of the KSDB and the tender process to construct houses. When contacted, Kumar said he had no information about the case since he was away in Bellary. He said he would find out once he returned to Bangalore.
A few months ago, Kumar had tendered his resignation after it was alleged that his family was the beneficiary of a ‘G’ category site. However, the chief minister refused to accept the resignation as no substance was found in the allegation.

Setty, who was in jail over a land denotification case, is out on bail. Baligar is the Managing Director of Housing Urban Development Company (HUDCO) in New Delhi.
When contacted Dr R P Sharma, Additional Director General of Police, BMTF was not available for comments.

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