DGP to investigate allegations that the former Deputy CM submitted false affidavits to acquire agriculture land

The Home Department has asked the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police to investigate the case pertaining to the alleged submission of false affidavits by the former Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R. Ashok to acquire agriculture land in Lottegollahalli in Bangalore.

The move by the Home Department, vide a communiqué to the DGP dated December 28, 2013, comes two years after the Lokayukta police recommended action against the former BJP Minister. The communiqué, a copy of which is with The Hindu, is silent on the Lokayukta recommendation, but asks the DGP to investigate a complaint by Wg. Cmdr. (Retd.) G.B. Athri who questioned the government’s inaction. The Home Department has asked the DGP to investigate the complaint and submit an action taken report.

What seems to have spurred the Home Ministry into action is the series of representations by Wg. Cmdr. Athri, an RTI activist, who pursued the Lokayukta’s recommendation with the government. Wg. Cmdr. Athri forwarded his latest representation on December 9, 2013 to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The Lokayukta police, during its investigation, found that Mr. Ashok, who represents Padmanabhanagar constituency, had violated Section (79A) of Karnataka Land Reforms Act of 1961, which prevents a person whose annual income from non-agriculture source is more than Rs. 2 lakh from buying agriculture land.

He allegedly submitted two false affidavits — in 2003 and 2007 — to circumvent Section 79A while buying two parcels of land measuring 9.12 guntas and 14 guntas in Lottegollahalli village of Kasaba hobli in Bangalore North taluk. The alleged violation of Section 177 (for false information) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) attracts imprisonment for up to two years and Section 181 (false oath or affirmation) of the IPC imprisonment for up to three years.

The Lokayukta police had asked the government to confiscate the land and take action against Mr. Ashok.

The Law Department recommended that no action be taken because the case had been barred by time limitation, as more than three years had elapsed since the date of the alleged crime. Meanwhile, Mr. Ashok returned the land to the government.

Wg. Cmdr. Athri, who unsuccessfully contested against Mr. Ashok twice, submitted three memorandums to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the last six months seeking action.

When asked to comment on the development, Mr. Ashok said he was not aware of the Home Department communiqué and insisted that another investigation cannot be taken up as the matter is pending in the Lokayukta court.

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