Palike officials cock a snook at order on khata scam

The BBMP revenue officials and the engineers have failed to cooperate with the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) in the probe into the bogus khata and forged building plan scam in Bengaluru South division, in a blatant violation of Palike Commissioner G Kumar Naik’s instruction.

Naik’s direction to the TVCC was based on a complaint by K Nageswar Rao of Uttarahalli, who had given a set of documents pertaining to at least 116 buildings, which he had obtained under the RTI Act. In the RTI reply, the Palike officials themselves had admitted that khatas of all the buildings were bogus and the building plans were never sanctioned. The same forged documents were submitted to the BWSSB and the Bescom to obtain sanitary and water connections, power connection, respectively.

The Commissioner had referred the matter to the TVCC on November 4, 2015. Since then, the TVCC engineers have been writing to the ward level revenue officers and engineers seeking the documents, but there is hardly any forward movement.

A TVCC officer said, “Several correspondences by us as well as the Special Commissioner (Administration) with the ward and division level officers fetched zero result.”

On January 6, the TVCC Chief Engineer submitted his report to the Palike commissioner asking him to initiate disciplinary action against the revenue officers and the engineers for denying access to the documents which they had sought, to investigate the complaint.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Rao said, “In most of the cases, the LP numbers of the bogus building plans were of the buildings almost 10 to 20 km away from the location mentioned. For instance, the LP number of a building at Vasanthapura was traced to a building in Madivala.”

Turning a blind eye
Despite knowing the wrongdoings, the Palike engineers did not stop the builders at the time of constructing the buildings, said Rao, adding that now families were residing in those apartments.

Rao said the revenue inspectors were issuing khatas showing them as ‘gramathana sites,’ which means that the sites are part of the residential areas in the old villages. After entering the property details in the register, bogus khatas are issued. The same document is produced to obtain the building plan.

He said in most of the cases, the Town Planning section of the BBMP does not approve the building plan. The builders forge the building plan and construct buildings. The builders then connive with the BWSSB to get the water and sanitary connections. Further, the Bescom provides electricity to these buildings. There are no setbacks, no proper planning, no space for parking vehicles for these buildings and there are violations galore of the Floor Area Ratio.

The complainant said, “By allowing such buildings to come up, the Palike engineers and the revenue officers are turning the City into a big slum.”

He said that the Palike engineers have already issued notices for the demolition of such buildings, but there was never a follow-up. Such buildings are a ‘milch cow’ for the Palike officers, he added.

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