Arkavathi panel's report card: Just 30 pc work in 16 months

Commission says govt, BDA dragging probe into denotification of 982 acres

Arkavathi panel's report card: Just 30 pc work in 16 months
The Justice H S Kempanna Commission, which is probing into the legality of denotification of land in Arkavathi Layout developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), is working at a snail’s pace as the respondents (the BDA and the government) and the petitioners have sought more time.

In the last 16 months after it started functioning, the commission has, so far, completed just 30 per cent work and got three extensions of six months each. The third extension will expire by the end of February 2016.

The government had set up the commission following vociferous protests by the opposition BJP and the JD(S) seeking a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in Arkavathi Layout denotification in North Bengaluru.

As against the total 2,748.20 acres acquired by the BDA through its final notification on February 23, 2004, 982.13 acres were excluded. A modified notification for 1,766.07 acres was issued on June 18, 2014. The BDA categorised the excluded lands into A, B, C, D and E.

Justice Kempanna told Deccan Herald they had no other option as both the respondents (the BDA and the government) were seeking more time to submit documents and affidavits. Similarly, petitioners were seeking time to go through these affidavits before cross-examining the respondents.

“We had to give both a fair chance and time to present their cases,” he said, explaining the delay. So far, the BDA has submitted affidavits for two category of denotifications (E and D totaling 281.28 acres). Cross-examination of these categories is also over.

The BDA commissioner and Under-Secretary, Urban Development Department, are the respondent witness one and two, respectively. The commission has now asked the BDA and the government to file affidavits for two more categories (C and B) of denotification by December 30, 2015, and fixed the cross-examination to begin on January 6, 2016. The extent of excluded land in these two categories is 156.54 acres.

The final 544.31 acres of land under category A is controversial. The land was denotified as per the guidelines issued by a division Bench of the High Court and upheld by the apex court.

BDA were with the CBI while two files were with the Lokayukta. As a result, the government and the BDA delayed submitting these files. “We got a copy of five of these files on December 17, 2015,” Justice Kempanna said.

A source in the commission said they might have to seek another extension as they were left with just two months. “We still have to do 70 per cent of work. How can we do it in two months,” the source asked, adding they will go for another extension up to August 2016. “We hope to wind up the enquiry in that period. But it depends on how quickly the government and the BDA respond and file the affidavits.”

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