Outraged by the suggestion that they had entered into a corrupt land deal, BDA employees have returned the land that was sold to them at Rs. 6.87 a sq. ft in the upmarket Banashankari 5th Stage. The cancellation deed was executed at the BDA headquarters here on Tuesday.

The move comes a day after RTI activist B.M. Shivkumar produced the sale deed at a press conference, which showed that the BDA had sold two acres and 35 guntas of land (1.25 lakh sq. ft) to the BDA Employees’ Welfare Association for Rs. 8,60,675, which works out to less than Rs. 7 per sq. ft.

He called it a scam and alleged that the land was worth at least Rs. 100 crore.

In a letter to the BDA Commissioner on Tuesday, association president D.N. Bette Gowda said, “Some newspapers, without knowing the proper facts, have tarnished the Chief Minister [Siddaramaiah] and the Bangalore Development Authority Commissioner. To avoid further embarrassment we are returning the land that was allotted to our housing society.”

It said that the association was to be given 45 acres of land as per a 2006 Government Order. The association paid the full amount for the land to the BDA in 2007, the letter said.

Asked how they got land at such a throwaway price, Mr. Gowda argued that the land was much cheaper when it was identified for allotment to them. But wasn’t the land sold to them less than a week ago? “Yes, but when this piece of land was identified for allotment to us in 2006, it was cheaper.” ”

In a subsequent press release, BDA Commissioner T. Sham Bhat said that the land allotment had been cancelled “in the wake of allegations in the media”.

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