Lokayukta gets complaint on ‘6,000-acre land scam, ‘Land denotified and acquired at three times market value’

BANGALORE: In a complaint to the Lokayukta, Bangalore based businessman A. Alam Pasha has alleged that over 6,000 acres of land were acquired through fraudulent means by the KIADB in the Devanahalli Industrial Area during the last three years.

The land, which was acquired for a string of projects such as the IT Park, Hardware Technology Park, and Aerospace Park, also include property earmarked for allocation to companies that participated in the Global Investors Meet. The complaint, filed on August 24, 2011, alleges that the land was originally owned by the Government. The land was illegally denotified in favor of middlemen for powerful politicians and then acquired by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board for three times the market value, the complaint alleges.

In his complaint, he says that the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was the chairman, and Industries Minister Murugesh M. Nirani, who is the vice-chairman of the State High-Level Clearance Committee (SHLCC), are directly involved in the scam.
Speaking to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Mr. Pasha claimed that he had proof to back his allegations.
Lokayukta Shivaraj V. Patil confirmed the receipt of the complaint and described the allegations as “grave in nature”. He said that he has sent the file for scrutiny.

Quoting from his own case, Mr. Pasha said that his company, Pash Space International Ltd., was charged Rs. 1.85 crore per acre for its housing project by the KIADB, which purchased it at Rs. 75 lakh an acre from landowners. The “so-called farmers” from whom the land was purchased for the project are none other than the family members of certain Cabinet ministers, he alleged. “The original land value in those areas is nearly half of what was finally paid,”he said.

Mr. Pasha claimed that he has uncovered large-scale irregularities in the course of fighting for the success of his project, which is being “sabotaged by vested interests in the Government”. On April 2, The Hindu reported how Mr. Pasha’s Rs. 600-crore project had been canceled on the basis of a forged letter. Somebody had forged his signature and company letterhead and written a letter to the Government stating that Pash Space International is not interested in going ahead with the Devanahalli project.
A few days after the April 2 report, the Government went back on its decision to cancel the land allotment and ordered an inquiry. But after the issue died down in the media, things went back to normal. “The investigation has gone nowhere and I have still not been formally handed over the land,” Mr. Pasha alleged. He is alleging that he has proof to indict Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Nirani in not just the case of the forged letter but also in the land acquisition in Devanahalli.

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