Reversing his predecessor’s ruling, the Special Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban) has ordered to transfer the 285 acres of land on the city outskirts to the private parties who claimed ownership.
The parcel of land in survey number 137 at BM Kaval village, Kengeri hobli in Bengaluru South taluk, has been ordered in favour of two women, the family of late liquor baron KL Srihari Khoday and others.
The previous Special DC gave three rulings declaring the entire 310 acres and 18 gunta in survey number 137 as government land.
The current Special DC Rangappa stated in his order that only 25.9 acres may be declared as government land.
The Special DC court began fresh proceedings on July 27, 2017, as directed by the Karnataka High Court to give `sufficient opportunity’ to Khodays and other applicants.
The private parties claimed that the land was Hiduvali (holding). Two individuals – Motamma and Nagamma - contended that 285 acres and nine guntas of land is Hiduvali (holding) land and that one Narasimha Rao Shindhe, the original owner, executed a sale deed in favour of Narasi Devaru and his son Eerappa in 1940-41.
The women said they were daughters of Eerappa and are therefore the legitimate owners of the Hiduvali land.
The Special DC’s proceedings were completed in six hearings from July to August 2018 (July 20, July 26, July 30, July 31, August 1 and August4).
He explained in his order how the very court, in its previous inquiries and hearings, held that no documents were found in support of the claim made by the Khodays and others.
So much so that the tahsildar-Bengaluru South had filed a report on August 7, 2018 reasserting that it was government land and that there was no change in the report submitted in 2015. The tahsildar cited records to claim that the land was Muft kaval or grazing land.
However, the Special DC wrote to the Joint Director of Land Records to ascertain if the land was holding or government land.
After receiving the report from Land Records, the Special DC concluded that the entry of Phada or government (as per Revisional Settlement register) was suspicious.
He held that if it was declared as Phada land for tax due, then the revenue authorities should have auctioned the land. “There is no record available to conclude that it was government land or Phada for tax due,” the Special DC said in his order.
“Records available do not suggest that the land was acquired for it to be considered as government land. The available preliminary record, survey report and sale deeds of 1924 and 1940 establish that the land is originally Hiduvali (holding),” the Special DC ruled.
The legal battle for the land has been going on since 2001. The then tahsildar Bengaluru South had raised suspicion on transfer of rights over the government land and a case was registered in 2001.
In January 2003, the Special DC court declared the grant certificates presented by the Khodays as forged and ordered to enter the land as government-owned in the revenue records.
“The 2003 order and the ones issued subsequently declaring the property as government land was challenged in the Karnataka High Court on the grounds that the Khodays didn’t get sufficient opportunity,” said an official.
“So a similar order was passed in July 2005 dismissing the claims by the Khodays. The appeal challenging this order was also dismissed and the High Court upheld the 2005 order,” the official added.
The joint legislative committee on encroachment of government lands recommended to the government in 2007 to file criminal case against KL Srihari Khoday for grabbing government land in survey number 137.