BENGALURU: In a major development, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday registered an FIR against former Deputy Chief Minister and BJP MLA R Ashok and others in a bagair hukum (unauthorised) land scam.
According to a release issued by ACB, Ashok, who was chairman of Bengaluru South Taluk Bagair Hukum Land Regularisation Committee from 1998 to 2006 and Uttarahalli constituency MLA, was also one of the beneficiaries of the scam. Government officials and others were also named in the FIR registered under Sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 420 and 120 (b) of IPC.
The FIR was registered on Monday after the ACB found a prima facie case after the preliminary investigation into the complaint that the committee had sanctioned bagair hukum land to even those who are not eligible for it. On Tuesday, then Bengaluru South tahsildar Ramachandraiah, revenue inspectors Gavigowda, Hemmigepura Circle, Chowdareddy, Nelaguli Circle, village accountant Shashidhara, Agara village, were arrested by the ACB.
They were produced before the special court in the city. The court remanded them to ACB custody for further investigation, the release said.
Congress leader M A Saleem registered the complaint with ACB in the second week of November. However, the ACB registered an FIR only on Tuesday, days after Ashok levelled illegal denotification charges against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The FIR was coincidentally registered on a day when BJP chief Amit Shah was reaching Bengaluru.
Rs 10,000 crore scam, claims Congress
On October 30, 2017, the Congress accused BJP leader Ashok of being involved in a `10,000 crore land scam. Congress had accused Ashok of allotting 2,500 acres of bagair hukum land in 75 villages of Bengaluru South taluk when he was chairman of the Bagair Hukum Regularisation Committee during the previous BJP regime.
Releasing documents in support of their allegation, MLCs V S Ugrappa, Mohan Kondajji, Prof K E Radhakrishna and P R Ramesh had urged the government to take cognisance of the issue. They demanded the ACB to register a suo motu case. Ugrappa had then said that the assistant commissioner of Bengaluru South taluk had submitted a report to the deputy commissioner of Bengaluru Urban District on the irregularities in allotment of land, who, in turn, directed the tahsildar to take necessary action.
The Legislative Assembly Committee on Government Assurances also found irregularities in allotment and recommended necessary action to be taken. Even the Joint House Committee on Encroachment of Government Land acknowledged irregularities in allotting the land to ineligible beneficiaries, Ugrappa had alleged.
As committee chairman, Ashok has allocated bagair hukum land to former corporators, his family members and BJP workers resulting in loss to the tune of `10,000 crore to the state exchequer, Ramesh alleged. He said land had been allocated to ineligible beneficiaries in 16 villages under various clauses of Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.
According to revenue officials present, a conservative estimate of the market value of the land is `2,500-Rs 3,000 per sqft., which amounts to a total worth of about `10,000 crore, Ugrappa said.