Govt cancels land allotment to Joy Ice Creams

Company had sold land to a builder in violation of non-alienation conditions

In a significant decision, the State government has cancelled the land allotment to Joy Ice Creams Pvt Ltd for selling the land to a builder in violation of non-alienation conditions.

In the order issued on Tuesday, Principal Secretary (Revenue Department) Dr B Basavaraaju has directed the Bengaluru district revenue authority to take immediate action to resume back the three acres 23 guntas in Pattandur Agrahara village in K R Puram, along with the structures erected by real estate firm Prestige Estate Projects Ltd. However, though the order admits to ommission and commission on the part of officials in various departments, it is silent on action to be initiated against erring officials.

The land was allotted to Joy Ice Creams in 2006 in terms of section 20 (c) of Karnataka Land Grant Rules, for 50 per cent of the market value, Rs 4.28 crore. Within 40 days of executing the absolute sale deed, Joy Ice Creams sold the land to Prestige Estate on August 30, 2006, for a consideration of Rs 6.97 crore. Later, based on the reports, the government passed an order in May 2015 cancelling the land grant made in favour of Joy Ice Creams. Subsequently, Prestige Estate challenged this order and the High Court directed the government to hold fresh enquiry to dispose in accordance with law.

The enquiry, in which S R Hiremath of the Samaja Parivartana Samudaya impleaded, revealed that Joy Ice Creams executed the sale deed in favour of Prestige Estate Projects Ltd, along with one more company by name, Wildflower Estate and Resorts, in which Home Minister K J George and his brother K J Kuruvilla are the shareholders, as a confirming party.

As per the sale deed, Joy had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wildflower on February 28, 2005, and the latter advanced the required amount to acquire the land. Subsequently, Prestige got the change of land use from industrial purpose to residential after the execution of  the sale deed. The order of the Principal Secretary states that there was an attempt to cover up the violations of the conditions.

“An attempt was made to cover up the grave error of selling the land in question in violation of the conditions. No doubt this has been done in collusion with certain officials, as well as the developer. It is pertinent to note here that for certain ommission and commissions both at the government level, as well as in Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), Sub-registrar’s office and office of the DC and Special DC (Urban), the Karnataka Lokayukta has registered a case and an enquiry is underway,” the order stated. However, the complaint before the Lokayukta is a private person and the State government has not passed any order for Lokayukta enquiry against the officials.

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