Government to order Lokayukta probe if law permits

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said that if law permits, the government will order a Lokayukta probe into illegal sale of 149 acres of land near Nelamangala by the Karnataka Indusrial Area Development Board (KIADB) to M/s BPL Ltd.

Responding to calling attention motion by E. Krishnappa (Janata Dal-Secular) and Y.A. Narayanaswamy (BJP), in the Legislative Council, Mr. Siddaramaiah said since the final transaction on the part of the government took place more than five years ago [issue of absolute sale deed by KIADB in 2006], he has to examine whether a Lokayukta probe could be ordered into the illegalities.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the direction of the then Major and Medium Industries Minister to KIADB to execute absolute sale deed in November 2006 was patently illegal. The Minister in the coalition government issued the direction considering the “services” of BPL to Karnataka, though he was not empowered to do so, he said. BPL was allotted 149 acres of land in Sompura village (Dobbspet).

Leader of the House S.R. Patil said, “It’s not our illicit child. This government does not allow real estate transaction in the name of industries and thereby deprive farmers of their fertile land.”

At present, BPL does not own even a small fraction of the allotted land as it has sold parts of the lands after execution of the sale deed and parts were attached and sold by assessment recovery council.

While BPL sold about 25 acres to Jindal, another 3 acres were sold to British Oxygen and another 33 acres were to Maruti Suzuki. Maruti bought another 87 acres put for auction by the recovery council, he said.

Huge kickbacks

Mr. Narayanaswamy and Mr. Krishnappa said KIADB had paid pittance to farmers while acquiring lands [about Rs. 1.1 lakh an acre] in 1993 and BPL sold the same for over Rs. 1 crore an acre a decade later. It had purchased the lands from KIADB for about Rs. 3.5 lakh an acre. They demanded suitable enhanced compensation to farmers who had lost their land.

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