GKW land deal: BDA silent on recovering prime property

Company sold 25 acres for Rs 320 cr in alleged violation of rules

 A private firm, which was allotted 25 acres in the heart of the City by the government for setting up an industry, has sold the said land to a private developer for a whopping Rs 320 crore in alleged violation of rules.

But, even five years after the said deal, the State government and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which were supposed to recover the prime property, are said to have taken no steps in this regard despite the issue being raised in the Legislative Assembly a couple of occasions.

To boost industrial development and create jobs, the government acquired agricultural lands in Rajajinagar and granted 25 acres to GKW Ltd through the erstwhile City Improvement Trust Board (CITB), which was renamed Bangalore Development Authority in 1965-67. The said land, interestingly, is claimed to be a part of the area that was granted to the Scheduled Castes during the time of Dewan Purnaiah, under the erstwhile Mysore kingdom.

GKW Ltd, which subsequently was deemed sick by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), on March 25, 2008, sold the land to Palladium Constructions Private Ltd and Platinum Hospitality Services Private Ltd for Rs 320 crore. Deccan Herald, which has procured the copies of the sale deeds, has learnt that it is illegal to sell such land allotted for a public purpose after a company turns sick.

A memorandum, deeming such a transaction illegal, was passed as early as 1984 by the then Special Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore District, T Thimmegowda. The memorandum states: “The moment the company or industry becomes sick, they have no legal rights, title possession over the said property, which was acquired and sold for the specific purpose to run the industry and its production.”

The memorandum also states that the possession of the said property shall be restored in favour of original grantees or donees or khatadars, particularly to the members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes/grantees or in whose favour the benefit of lands were granted earlier by the competent authority.

However, it appears that the BDA has failed to recover the said land and return the title rights to the original owners. When Deccan Herald sought to know the steps the BDA has taken to get back the land, BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhat said: “I am not completely in tune with the case. I will look into the matter.”

The memorandum also states that the certificate of ownership of the land to industries is “issued and valid only for the purpose of production before a financial institution for raising loan to the company and, does not create any new right on land concerned in favour of the company nor any defence in the title of the schedule property, if any.”

A Bangalore MLA, who had raised the issue in the Assembly more than once, told Deccan Herald that the government was not interested in pursuing the matter.

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