Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana on Monday constituted a committee to probe alleged irregularities in the Revenue Department of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), and submit the report within two months.
The Mayor’s action came after councillors cutting across party lines raised the issue at the BBMP council meeting.
According to Yediyur councillor N.R. Ramesh, of the 316 tax inspectors in 66 wards coming under Mahadevapura, Yelahanka, Bommanahalli, Dasarahalli and Rajarajeshwarinagar zones, 172 were earlier employees of the erstwhile city municipal councils and 144 were gram panchayat employees. He alleged that there were several irregularities in their recruitment, and they came under the civic body when BBMP was formed in 2007. During that time, many fictional employees also entered the rolls, he alleged.
He said that the BBMP has to collect betterment charges from owners of revenue sites that have been converted before issuing A Khata. However, since the case pertaining to collection of betterment charges is being heard in the High Court, the BBMP can only issue B Khata (B register document) to such property owners.
“But 61 tax inspectors have thrown caution to the wind and have issued A Khatas to 25,000 properties, thus causing loss to the BBMP. They have also created fake documents and issued A Khatas to government land,” he alleged.
The former Mayor S.K. Nataraj pointed out that the council had passed the betterment charges fixed by the BBMP, but it was challenged in the High Court. According to him, “Citizens are ready to pay betterment charges to get their properties regularised. The BBMP can fix betterment charge at Rs. 250 to Rs. 300 per sq m, and that would help the BBMP earn revenue up to Rs. 5,000 crore.”
Several councillors, including Opposition Leader B.N. Manjunath Reddy, Chamarajpet councillor B.V. Ganesh, V.V. Puram councillor Anil Kumar and J.P. Park councillor B.R. Nanjundappa demanded a CID probe into the alleged irregularities in the Revenue Department.
BBMP’s Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) I. Ramakanth said that most tax inspectors who were serving in the same position for several years have been transferred. He said that the department had seized some documents in 2011 and filed cases against the officials concerned in the police stations as well. He claimed that efforts were being made to fix the betterment charges in a scientific manner.