Ex-GP officials to face trial over illegal lease of CA sites for clubhouse

Two CA sites were relinquished on behalf of the gram panchayat in 2010
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST

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The high court has declined to quash criminal proceedings against two former gram panchayat officials in a case of illegally leasing CA sites to a real estate firm for building a clubhouse.

N Krishnappa and N Ramamurthy, former officials of the Vishwanathapura gram panchayat, Devanahalli, moved the high court against the charge sheet filed against them by the ACB. They cited prior government sanction as a prerequisite to launch prosecution. They had also contended that sanction was required as per the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Citing the order of the Supreme Court, Justice H P Sandesh said that where the public servant had abused the office, which he held in the check-up period, but had ceased to hold “that office” or was holding a different office, then sanction would not be necessary.

The court pointed out that the amendment to the act is prospective and has no application to cases registered before it came into force, are under various stages of investigation and those in which investigation has been completed and are pending trial. The amendment to the act came into effect from July 2018, whereas the offence took place in 2016 and an FIR was registered in 2017, the court said.

Two CA sites were relinquished on behalf of the gram panchayat in 2010 while real estate firm Fortius Land Developers LLP filed an application requesting the land to build a clubhouse. The Vishwanathapura gram panchayat approved the handing over of the land in 2016 after taking approval from the Devanahalli taluk panchayat. The lease deed was executed for 30 years in favour of the firm in September 2016.

The then minister for rural development and panchayat raj, H K Patil, held an enquiry based on the complaints received by the villagers. He not only cancelled the lease deed but also ordered handing over the criminal investigation to the ACB. The probe revealed that the approval by the gram panchayat was never placed before Devanahalli taluk panchayat.

Published 07 April 2021, 19:30 IST

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