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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 48, Dated December 04, 2010
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
LAND SCAM
EXPOSÉ



KARNATAKA LAND SCAM

Servants. Drivers. Maids. Partymen. Every party CM gave them prime land under a dubious quota

Here’s a short list of those who benefited from a scam running into thousands of crores over 20 years. IMRAN KHAN unearths the evidence in an open season of corruption in Bengaluru

SCAM
ALERT

EVEN BY the standards of an age dulled by low levels of public probity, this was a new low. A few days ago, in mid-November, a question was asked of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, whether he was quitting because he scandalously allotted land to his children. Yeddyurappa appeared amazed and said there were ‘innumerable instances’ of similar allotments to kith and kin of many chief ministers. Why am I being targeted, Yeddyurappa wondered. This, from a man who said he was simple, honest, hard-working, and therefore represented hope.

He then listed how much land previous chief ministers had given away. SM Krishna (Congress) denotified 633.33 acres, Dharam Singh (Congress) 110.33 acres, HD Kumaraswamy (Janata Dal–Secular) 346.23 acres and he, Yeddyurappa (BJP), 259.12 acres so far. It seemed like he was comparing a roll of honour. Not for a moment did it occur to Yeddyurappa that he was illegally allotting land to family members under the CM’s discretionary quota or the G category.

Now, TEHELKA is able to establish that Yeddyurappa may have inadvertently been speaking the truth. Documents with TEHELKA show that crores of rupees worth of land has been given away from as far back as 1989 in the flourishing metro of Bengaluru, where real estate is among the costliest in India. It appears that chief ministers of all parties regularly flouted rules and stretched official definitions to benefit party workers, legislators, ministers, family members, friends, drivers, maids and other servants. The provision all of them used was where the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) Act allows governments the discretion to allot sites to ‘persons in public life’.

Krishna, now External Affairs Minister, Singh, Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa used the ambiguity of the provision to allot land to people of their choice. Their whimsical decisions have cost the exchequer several crores of rupees. In many cases, sites measuring 50x80 sq ft and 60x40 sq ft in prime localities of Bengaluru have been sold for a song. For instance, sites that would have fetched the BDA Rs. 2 crore each in the market were sold to allottees for as low as Rs. 10 lakh.

In a bizarre instance, Dharam Singh allotted sites to 15 servants who worked in his ‘personal department’

In a bizarre instance, Dharam Singh, in an official letter (CMR 1205/04), allotted sites to 15 servants saying they worked in his ‘personal department’. Months after this, the names of the servants appeared in the BDA list of allottees for that year. Krishna allotted a 50x80 sq ft site in the prime locality of Koramangala to Raghavendra Shastry, now Krishna’s Officer on Special Duty. Shastry, a close friend of VG Siddhartha, Krishna’s son-in-law, was in charge of media relations when Krishna was chief minister. Things got so bad that it appeared Kumaraswamy had emptied the BDA’s land bank. When Kumaraswamy was heading a coalition government of the BJP and the JD(S), the BDA announced it had run out of sites after allotments were made under the G category!

TEHELKA has found that over the years, BDA lists contain only the first names of the beneficiaries. Listing only the first names provides enough space for manoeuvring. Enough doubt exists about the manipulation of intended beneficiaries and the allotments made by CMs in such cases. TEHELKA scrutinised more than 60 pages of documents that listed beneficiaries from 1989 to 2010. And then cross-checked the legal affidavits of the legislators and ministers.

We found that the affidavits often list other property owned by the allottees in Bengaluru and outside — a violation of the BDA Act that stipulates that beneficiaries under the G category should own no property in the state. Just why should we have a discretionary quota anyway? Chief Ministers use it to fraudulently make preferential allotments of sites. In a democracy, allowing chief ministers power to grant sites to people they look upon favourably reeks of a feudal setup. That these beneficiaries are often elected representatives themselves makes it bleaker.

Karnataka is a specific example. Seen as a boom state in India, it has often attracted international attention for its successes. But these days, it is in the news for corruption. The newest twist is that Yeddyurappa, bowing to corruption charges, appointed a one-man commission to probe irregularities in land allotments from 1995. Justice B Padmaraj, a retired Karnataka High Court judge, is to head the commission.

Padmaraj was indicted in 2007 by a joint legislature committee for owning land in a residential area declared illegal by the BDA (See page 24). This is Yeddyurappa’s choice to head a crucial inquiry. The following pages will list a few of the several beneficiaries who should not have got land at throwaway prices simply because chief ministers had discretionary powers to do so. The scam runs far deeper.


imran@tehelka.com

REALTY BITES

A list of 35 beneficiaries among the hundreds who have prospered by violating land allotment rules in the Karnataka Land Scam

Raghavendra
Shastry

Raghavendra Shastry
Currently Officer on Special Duty to SM Krishna

LOCATION Koramangala
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 4.8 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land as a personal favour because Shastry was a close friend of Krishna’s son-in-law, VG Siddhartha

Vijaylakshmi Ramanna
Related to former Assembly Speaker Venkatappa

LOCATION HSR Layout,
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
She got the allotment because she is the sister-in-law of Congressman Venkatappa

MV Venkatappa
CONGRESS (FORMER ASSEMBLY SPEAKER)

LOCATION HSR Layout,
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Venkatappa already owned BDA-allotted land and hence did not qualify for this allotment made during Krishna’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not own land

Rajeev Gowda
CONGRESS; SON OF FORMER ASSEMBLY SPEAKER VENKATAPPA

LOCATION HSR RMV Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.6 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land as his father was close to Krishna. In all, three of Venkatappa’s family members, including Rajeev, were allotted sites during Krishna’s tenure

Madappa, Taradevi A Swamy, Rajshekhar, Harish Y, Channabasappa TK, Saidappa's father Ningappa, Venkamma, AS Ravi, Shailashri Sanganna Gowda, Deepali H. Boosamoor, Pushpalatha's father Revanna, K Arun Babu, Kamala's husband Jagannath, Narayan Rao, Shivarudraiah
15 people working in Dharam Singh's "personal department"

ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh

WHY IT’S WRONG
Were allotted land based on an official letter from Dharam Singh (dated 15 October 2004; letter no. CMR 1205/04) None of them qualify under the G category definition of "persons in public life"

Priyadarshini

Priyadarshini
Daughter of Congress CM Dharam Singh

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land because she was the then chief minister’s daughter; does not meet eligibility criteria otherwise

Mallikarjun Nagappa
CONGRESS; FORMER MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION MINISTER

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Acquired land and sold it a year later, violating the 10 year lock-in period stipulated by the BDA

Padma Bai
Relative of Congress CM Dharam Singh

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land because she is related to the chief minister; does not meet eligibility criteria otherwise

KS Eshwarappa
Current state BJP president

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Eshwarappa already owned BDA-allotted land and hence did not qualify for this allotment made during Singh’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Katta
Subramanya
Naidu

Katta Subramanya Naidu
BJP; current IT minister

LOCATION Koramangala
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 4.8 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
He did not declare previous land ownership while applying for allotment; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land

C Puttanna
JD(S); DEPUTY CHAIRMAN, LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

LOCATION Koramangala
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
TEHELKA found that his affidavits were missing

BS Premamma
SISTER OF CURRENT CM BS YEDDYURAPPA

LOCATION Koramangala
SIZE NA
CURRENT PRICE NA
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
She was perviously allotted a site in 2009; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned property previously. Now, she is rumoured to have returned the land

CH Vijayshankar
BJP; current minister for forests

LOCATION Survey No. 12 & 13, Yelikunte, HSR Layout
SIZE NA
CURRENT PRICE NA
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Vijayshankar already owned property and hence did not qualify for this allotment made during Kumaraswamy’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

VH Kageri
BJP; current primary education minister

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 40x60 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
TEHELKA found that his affidavits were missing

MK Priyank

MK Priyank
Congress; Son of Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land because of his father Kharge’s ministerial position in Singh’s government; as a political greenhorn he would not have qualified otherwise

B
Sreeramulu

B Sreeramulu
BJP; current health minister

LOCATION OMBR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 80 lakh
ALLOTTED BY Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
An affidavit filed by Sreeramulu lists other property he owns in Bengaluru. Hence, he did not qualify for this allotment made during Singh’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

YSV Datta
JD(S) MLC

LOCATION KMRSL First Stage
SIZE 40x60 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE NA
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
A preferential allotment, Datta made it to the list as a close confidant of JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda

VS Acharya

VS Acharya
BJP; current higher education minister

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 40x60 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
TEHELKA found that his affidavits were missing

B Nagendra
BJP MLA

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
An affidavit filed by Nagendra lists other property he owned. Hence, he did not qualify for this allotment made by Yeddyurappa’s government. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Pallavi Ram
Daughter of BJP MP Chandre Gowda

LOCATION RMV Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land because she is the MP’s daughter; does not meet eligibility criteria otherwise

R Roshan Baig

R Roshan Baig
Congress MLA

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Baig owned land in Electronic City, Bengaluru, and hence did not qualify for this allotment. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

BY Raghavendra

BY Raghavendra
BJP MP; Son of current CM BS Yeddyurappa

LOCATION No. 1, RMV Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
A preferential allotment, Raghavendra was allotted land on the basis of his father’s position as chief minister. Since the controversy, he is rumoured to have returned the land

Anand
Asnotikar

Anand Asnotikar
DISQUALIFIED BJP MLA AND FORMER MINISTER

LOCATION Anjanapura
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE NA
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Asnotikar already owned land and hence did not qualify for this allotment made during Yeddyurappa’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Aravind Limbavali
FORMER BJP LEADER

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Limabavali’s affidavit lists other property he owns. Hence, he did not qualify for this allotment made by Yeddyurappa’s government. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Prabhakar B Kore
BJP MP; FORMERLY WITH CONGRESS

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Kore’s affidavit did not list plots allotted to him previously; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

J Shantha

J Shantha
BJP; Sister of current Health Minister B Sreeramulu

LOCATION: RMV Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.6 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
An affidavit filed by Shantha lists other property she owns. Hence, she did not qualify for this allotment. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

G Karunakara
Reddy

G Karunakara Reddy
BJP; current revenue minister

LOCATION: RMV Layout Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY BS Yeddyurappa government

WHY IT’S WRONG
TEHELKA found that his affidavits were missing

MP Prakash
Congress; formerly with JD(S)

LOCATION RMV Second Stage
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SR Bommai government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Prakash’s affidavit did not list plots allotted to him previously; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

KJ George
Congress

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SR Bommai government

WHY IT’S WRONG
George’s affidavit did not list plots allotted to him previously; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

MT Krishnappa
JD(S) MLA

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Affidavit shows more than two plots of land in Bengaluru. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Ajay Kumar Sarnaik
JD(S) (FORMER SPORTS MINISTER)

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Deve Gowda government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Sarnaik’s affidavit did not list plots allotted to him previously; BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

CS Puttaraju
JD(S)

LOCATION: 26/B. HSR Sec VI2004
SIZE 40x60 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY: Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Puttaraju’s affidavit lists other property he owns. Hence, he did not qualify for this allotment made during Kumaraswamy’s tenure. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

Pushpalatha R
Dharam Singh’s personal staff

LOCATION: BTM IV Stage
SIZE 30x40 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 66 lakh
ALLOTTED BY: Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land because she worked with the then chief minister

MP Renukacharya

MP Renukacharya
BJP; current excise minister

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 40x60 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 1.2 crore
ALLOTTED BY HD Kumaraswamy government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Renukacharya’s affidavit lists other property he owns. Hence, he did not qualify for this allotment. BDA stipulates that allottees should not have owned land previously

A Narayan
Swamy

A Narayan Swamy
BJP; current social welfare minister

LOCATION HSR Layout
SIZE 50x80 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 2 crore
ALLOTTED BY SM Krishna government

WHY IT’S WRONG
TEHELKA found that his affidavits were missing

K Arun Babu
DHARAM SINGH’S PERSONAL STAFF

LOCATION BTM IV Stage
SIZE 30x40 sq ft
CURRENT PRICE Rs. 66 lakh
ALLOTTED BY: Dharam Singh government

WHY IT’S WRONG
Was allotted land as he worked with the then chief minister

MEDIA IN THE MUCK
CMs routinely allotted land to journalists, stretching the definition of ‘persons in public life’

S Rajendran
Stephen David
Girish Rao
MN Gurumurthy
Gangadhara H Kushtagi
Venkatanarayana
A Gundabhat
EV Sathyanarayan
HR Ranganath
MC Sathyanarayanan
GA Prasannakumar
BV Mallikarjuna
Indrajit Lankesh

PHOTOS: HINDU IMAGES, GK HEGDE, PICS4NEWS.COM

Karnataka Land Scam: India Reacts

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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 48, Dated Dec 04, 2010
 

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