The Bench was hearing the petitions filed by some of the allottees questioning BBMP’s actions and complaining they are being forced to live in temporary sheds since 2007.

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that the agreement between the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with a third party for reconstruction of flats for the economically weaker sections (EWS) at Ejipura, may prima facie entail various criminal offences.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, made this observation while pointing out that those allotted the 1,512 flats under the EWS scheme in 1996 had indivisible right over the land which BBMP proposes to reconstruct in collaboration with the third party, Maverick Holdings and Investment Pvt. Ltd.

“Therefore, prima facie, the transaction … in respect of land in which 1,512 EWS persons held a right may amount to various criminal offences,” the Bench observed.

The Bench was hearing the petitions filed by some of the allottees questioning BBMP’s actions and complaining they are being forced to live in temporary sheds since 2007.

Temporary sheds

A couple of blocks of the 42-block complex collapsed in 2003, killing some residents. Later all the 42 blocks were demolished after experts ruled they were not safe for living due to substandard construction. Since then, many of the original allottees have been staying in the temporary sheds on the land.

The Bench observed that as per the contract into between the BBMP and the third party, 1,640 flats are proposed to be built as against 1,512. When BBMP counsel said the excess flats would be allotted to BBMP employees, the Bench said this would further dilute the rights of the original allottees.

Furthermore, the open area, which was available to the original 1,512 allottees, has drastically decreased as in the agreement, nearly half the land is now made available to the builder [Maverick Holdings] for developing commercial property, the usufruct of which can be made by the builder to recover the cost of construction.

The Bench found that the agreement prima facie is tantamount to contempt of the orders of the court issued on February 12, 2009 as in that order it had not permitted the BBMP to enter into any contract with the third parties for the reconstruction of flats. The order had specific directions to the Housing and Urban Development Department to sanction sufficient funds for the reconstruction, proceed with construction, and allot them to the erstwhile allottees.

Warning

Warning the authorities that it may have to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe this matter, the Bench asked the BBMP Commissioner to personally present before the court at the next hearing, on July 17.