In a big embarrassment to the BDA, the high court has quashed its acquisition of 1.2 acres of prime property in North Bengaluru 44 year ago. It has restored the land to the rightful owner — since deceased — and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the BDA for not maintaining the records.
Here’s how the story goes:
In November 1977, the BDA started acquiring land at Binnamangala village in Kasaba hobli, Bengaluru North taluk, to form the OMBR Layout. Out of the acquired land, the BDA transferred 1.2 acres to the Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society (VHBCS) in 1989 following a request for bulk allotment. The house co-op later transferred the land to seven allottees through sale deeds in 1997.
There was a problem with the BDA’s land acquisition. The agency hadn’t purchased the land from the actual owner.
The BDA had passed the land award in favour of one A Suklal, who claimed to own the property, without checking the original revenue records. And all this happened without the knowledge of the original owner: B Doddamarappa.
The scam surfaced after Doddamarappa’s death. His legal heirs laid claim to the land title, and the case landed in court.
Acting on an earlier high court order, the state government launched an inquiry into the matter. The inquiry report, submitted by the regional commissioner on June 22, 2020, revealed that BDA officials had not perused the original revenue records before issuing the preliminary notification.
The lawyer representing Doddamarappa’s legal heirs contended that revenue records were manipulated at the behest of the BDA, the Revenue Department or the interested persons to snatch the land.
Justice P B Bajanthri noted that the ‘Mahazar’ document drawn by the BDA for taking possession of the land was defective and that no material was available regarding the possession given to the VHBCS. The ‘Mahazar’ was also in violation of the BDA Act: it was typed, not handwritten.
The court quashed the sale deeds executed by the BDA in favour of the VHBCS in 1989 and the subsequent sale deeds by the VHBCS in 1997. It directed the authorities concerned to rectify all the respective records and restore the land in favour of Doddamarappa within four months. The BDA has been directed to pay the cost to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA).