BENGALURU: The High Court on Wednesday ordered issue of notices on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the legality of the public private partnership (PPP) agreement for the construction of Swastik Metro Station on Sampige Road in Malleshwaram.
The PIL also challenged the development of an integrated residential and commercial complex alongside the station.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna issued the notices to Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railway.
The petition was filed by Bengaluru Residents Associations’ Confederation Ensemble (BRACE) and others.
During an earlier hearing on December 18, 2014, a division bench of Chief Justice DH Waghela and Justice Budihal R B had issued notices to BMRCL, the Mantri Group and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Now, the division bench headed by Justice Mukherjee has issued notices to the other respondents.
The petitioners argued that the agreement between the BMRCL and the Mantri Group in 2009 is illegal. They pointed out that the land acquired for the metro station was transferred to the private company in the guise of a PPP project to benefit the Mantri Group, running into crores of rupees. This amount would have otherwise come to the state exchequer.
The petitioners contended that the guidance value of the property, which the Mantri Group handed over for construction of the metro station, was only `53.30 crore. However, the group mentioned this value to be `180 crore, fully knowing that the value applicable would be `53.30 crore, the petitioner said.
Terming the agreement as one-sided, the petitioner said the transfer of all the acquired land for the station to Mantri Group for the construction under PPP project was in violation of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board Act, the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act and general principles of tender.