Former HC judge Kempanna to probe Arkavathy Layout scam

Former HC judge Kempanna to  probe Arkavathy Layout scam

The State government on Saturday appointed retired high court judge H S Kempanna to head a commission of inquiry to probe allegations of illegal land denotification in Arkavathy Layout.

The one-man commission has been given six months to submit its report. The inquiry will cover the period from February 23, 2004 — the day when the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) declared that 2,750 acres spread across 16 villages were required for the layout — to April 4, 2014, when the final notification for the remodified scheme was gazetted by the government.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the commission had the powers to summon anyone as per provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

According to the terms of reference given to the commission, it will probe whether land notified for the layout was denotified in violation of various Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court orders during the period.

The BJP had raised a hue and cry over the issue in the legislature last month, alleging that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was a direct beneficiary of the denotification of 541 acres. The party had sought a CBI inquiry to probe the alleged irregularities.

However, Siddaramaiah refused to hand over investigation to the CBI and had announced a judicial probe headed by a retired judge. Siddaramaiah had said that the denotification of 541 acres was in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Karnataka High Court under the “remodified scheme”.

The panel will now probe whether orders of courts were violated during the denotification of 983 acres of land since February 2004.

The commission will also probe whether the quasi-judicial orders passed by four land acquisition officers in June 2010 and various resolutions passed by the BDA between April 2006 and February 2013 — to exclude land from final notification after considering the objections raised by the landowners — are legal and valid.

The panel will probe whether any undue favours had been shown to the landowners by the BDA.

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