Revenue dept finally acts on govt land encroachment

Last Updated : 13 September 2011, 19:14 IST

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In a move that could result in the recovery of encroached government land worth thousands of crores of rupees, the Revenue Department has embarked on a drive to check the authenticity of 1,189 land grant instances pertaining to more than 9,900 acres in and around Bangalore.

The exercise is being taken up following suspicions raised by the Task Force for Protection of Government Lands headed by former additional chief secretary V Balasubramanian that thousands of acres of government land, particularly in Bangalore (Urban), were being usurped by creating fake documents. A Joint Legislature Committee headed by A T Ramaswamy that probed encroachment of government lands in 2007, had also expressed similar doubts.

As many as 60 teams have now been constituted to verify documents pertaining to these instances. The exercise, which started on Monday, will go on till September 24.

The teams have panned out to the five taluk offices coming under Bangalore Urban- Bangalore (North), Bangalore (North - additional), Bangalore (South), Bangalore (West) and Anekal. The teams will verify land grant instances short-listed with documents available in the taluk offices. Each team will scrutinise 20 documents per day.

The violations came to light when some persons applied for issue of certified copies of land grant orders from the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore (Urban). It was noticed that many land grant files maintained at the DC’s office had only three to four pages. There were no records pertaining to eligibility for grant, availability of land, reports and recommendations from the taluk office, thus violating the Karnataka Land Grant Rules.

The task force was shocked when it came across bogus saguvali (cultivation) chits, vital records pertaining to certain lands having gone ‘missing’ and even insertion of ficticious documents in the registers.

Balasubramanaian, had, in fact, recommended that the government order a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) inquiry into the issue. The task force also suspected the involvement of Revenue department officials resulting in large-scale land grabbing.

Initially, there was no response from the government. However, last month, the Revenue department directed the office of Bangalore (Urban) Special DC to identify land grant cases in its jurisdiction wherever there was an element of doubt regarding the authenticity of documents. The DC’s office identified as many as 1,189 such instances.

As per law, proof for a land grant is the entry made in the darkast (land register) and the saguvali (cultivation) chit register. The registers are maintained by the taluk office. The teams will verify the documents available in the taluk offices. The officials in the teams have been drawn from the districts of Tumkur, Kolar, Ramanagara and Chikkaballapur.

“If we do not find matching documents in the taluk offices, it would mean that land grant is fake and fabricated. We will initiate the process of recovering such land,” a senior official in the Revenue department said. Under Section 136 (3) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, DCs have the power to cancel land grants if not supported by original documents and records.

Specific instance

A classic case on how bogus documents are created to grab land in the name of grant is specified in the report of the Task Force for Protection of Government Lands.

In Kengeri hobli in Bangalore South taluk, it was found that saguvali (cultivation) chit had been ‘issued’ by the Bangalore South tahsildar in the year 1939 and ‘recommended’ by the village accountant. What the fraudsters did not verify was that Bangalore taluk was bifurcated into north and south only in 1940. Besides, the post of village accountants was created only in 1968 and till then there were only shanbogs.

On the probe radar

Published 13 September 2011, 18:30 IST

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