BENGALURU: The state BJP on Saturday mounted an attack on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, accusing him of nepotism in illegally granting land to a company owned by his son Yathindra’s former business partner. In a swift reaction, Siddaramaiah said he will advise his son to file a defamation case against BJP MLC B J Puttaswamy, who levelled the allegations at a press conference earlier in the day.
Puttaswamy said the BDA Commissioner, going against the opinion of his own officials, had given prime land in Hebbal worth `200 crore as compensation, when the civic agency had already paid adequate compensation for the land acquired. He alleged this was done with the sole intention of benefitting Yathindra, through his ex-business partner in Matrix Imaging Solutions, Rajesh Gowda C M.
A case has been already been lodged with the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) by Ambedkar Yuva Sene on the issue in April 2016, but BJP claimed to have fresh documents to buttress their claim. The party also demanded that the government immediately scrap the grant of land to the company.
“Siddaramaiah denotified acquired land to an extent of 988 acres for the formation of Arkavathy Layout. More than 3,000 residential site allottees lost their sites. They have been waiting for alternative site for the last 15 years. How is it fair to allot residential land in favour of builders and developers to such an extent when this area was marked for residential purposes? All this has been done in such a hurry to directly benefit the chief minister. They must cancel this allotment and give back the land to the land losers immediately. Or else, we will fight this legally,” Puttaswamy said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Council K S Eshwarappa said Yathindra’s resignation from the partnership in Matrix Imaging Solutions in 2016 did not put an lid on the question of him acquiring land by proxy.
“This prime land has been obtained by using influence and Siddaramaiah is directly party to it. If they do not want to take the advice of their own officials, then let them close all the boards and corporations and hire retired judges to get an opinion,” Eshwarappa said.
In Mysuru, Siddaramaiah said the accusations were baseless and politically motivated and said the allotment of land to Shantha Industrial Enterprises had no connection with his son and the approaching elections had driven BJP to resort to such tactics.
What the issue is about
The case is about land acquired by state govt at Kethamaranahalli village for the development of Mahalakshmi Layout, measuring 26 acres and 25 guntas from Shantha Industrial Enterprises in 1977. Compensation of `29.09 lakh was paid in 1987.
In April 2011, Rajesh Gowda became a partner in Shantha Industrial Enterprises and the company got into building and land development. Gowda submitted a fresh requisition to the then CM in September 2011 seeking alternate land.
In January 2014, BDA, decided to seek legal opinion from a senior advocate on the issue. Justice A R Lakshman then said that it was for BDA to allot other land of value acquired in lieu of cash. In June 2014, BDA approved allotment of 1,23,057 sqft to Shantha Industrial Enterprises and land was given in Banaswadi and HBR Layout. Since those land parcels were under litigation, it was cancelled and land was allotted in OMBR Layout and BTM Layout.
This was also scrapped and two parcels of land of 2 acres and 19.72 acres, near the Hebbal flyover is given. It was a part of the land acquired for the formation of Arkavathy Layout. Registration was done for a fee of Rs 5 lakh but BJP alleges that this resulted in a loss of Rs 15 crore.