Abetting encroachment: Minister Mahadev Prasad denies allegations

The lands in question are involved in a series of cases, says Minister

Cooperation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad, also In-Charge Minister of Chamarajanagar district, denied his role in influencing the then Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar M V Savitri in quashing the government order pertaining to 13,260.89 acres of land in Kollegal taluk.

Addressing media persons, at Jaladarshini Guest House in the city, on Thursday, Prasad — accompanied by Hanur MLA R Narendra — pooh-poohed the allegations made in this regard by BJP MLC Go Madhusudhan as baseless.

Refering to the documents, Prasad said, the said land is split in two different survey numbers. In survey number one, there is 1,360.25 acres of land and survey number 174 has 12,760.93 acres , both located in Saththegala village, Palya hobli, Kollegal taluk.

The root of the issue dates back to the year 1948, when Annapoornamma and others (claimants in the case) moved Alathur District Court in the then Madras province (now Tamil Nadu) pertaining to 220.34 acres of land in survey number one and 499.96 acres of land in survey number 174. Later, the case was transferred to Mysore Civil Judge Court (OS 8/1957) and was decreed that the claimants be given rightful ownership of the land. Following this, in the year 1968, a public prosecutor upheld the judgment of the court. 

Memo issued

Accordingly, the then deputy commissioner issued a memo on July 20, 1968. Acting on the memo, the then tahsildar of Kollegal (as Chamarajanagar was still a part of undivided Mysore district) issued the patta (ownership of the land) on February 5, 1969.

What triggered the issue was the draft notification issued in 1991, declaring 3,766 hectares (9,226.70 acres) of the total land in survey number 174 as reserve forest. On April 21, 2006, assistant commissioner of Kollegal was appointed as forest management officer.

Following a complaint, in 2007, that vested interests have encroached upon the land (in survey number one), the then assistant commissioner Sathyabhama (Land Revenue Reforms 116/ 2007) declared it as a ‘B’ kharab government land.

When the parties concerned questioned the order with the then deputy commissioner in 2010, the DC revoked AC’s order of 2008 and ordered for a re-inquiry into the issue. The then AC Basavaraj, who vetted into the issue again, declared the land in both survey numbers 1 and 174 as government land.

Vasundhara, wife of late Bhaktavatsala, and others, appealed against Basavaraj’s order in the court of the district magistrate (deputy commissioner) and also High Court. The High Court, in its order dated June 12, 2012, directed the deputy commissioner to dispose the case in three months. Acting on the High Court’s directions, the deputy commissioner disposed the case, quashing the order of the assistant commissioner.

Prasad clarified that he was neither supporting the officer in question nor abetting the petitioners as it was sub-judice. Moreover, law will take its own course during such instances, he said.

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