The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda on Wednesday said that he had granted 4,285 acres of land to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) for the fifth township under the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, following the recommendation of the State High-Level Clearance Committee and Finance Committee.

Addressing media persons, he said the clearance committee formed under the Chairmanship of the then Minister for Public Works Shivanand Koujalagi, with several top government officials, submitted its report to the government in October 1995.

Though the initial proposal was to develop seven townships, the committee recommended developing only five. The recommendation was accepted by the State government and an order passed in November 1995.

Mr. Gowda said that he sought to implead himself in the petition filed by NICE and others before the Karnataka High Court, as he wanted the investigation into the alleged irregularities in the BMIC project to continue.

‘JD(S) sought probe’

He alleged that NICE had been successfully scuttling the probe whenever ordered. The Janata Dal (Secular) had approached the then Governor Rameshwar Thakur demanding a CBI probe into irregularities in the project and directed the government to withdraw 1,830 acres excess land given to the project promoters. “However, the project promoters and the State government successfully stalled the probe,” he said.

The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa wound up the B.C. Patel Commission of Inquiry in October 2008, which was appointed in July 2006, following a debate in the Legislative Assembly. “Time and again I have been demanding a comprehensive probe into the irregularities, but my demand is not being met,” he rued.

Now attempts are being made by NICE to scuttle the Lokayukta probe citing verdicts by the High Court and the Supreme Court upholding the project and dismissing the petition for a probe, Mr. Gowda said. Though the memorandum of understanding was signed when he was the Chief Minister, he said he lost contact with the project after becoming the Prime Minister. The project had undergone several changes and alignment changed thrice, he said. Besides blaming top bureaucrats for all irregularities committed in the BMIC, he sought to know why the Congress was not taking up the issue.

NICE had pledged the land it got on lease to a commercial bank and secured a loan against it. “NICE did not pay even a single paisa to the government till 2003. NICE was planning to sign a Joint Development Agreement with Umang Realtech Pvt. Ltd. and Ajmera Housing Corporation for developing the land acquired for the project, he alleged.

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