Minister for Housing V. Somanna on Wednesday said his department had found that Ashraya houses had been allotted to bogus beneficiaries in five districts. Criminal cases would be filed against 25 panchayat development officers (PDO) and 18 block development officers (BDO) who were entrusted with distributing the funds to below-the-poverty line beneficiaries in the five districts.

Speaking to presspersons on Wednesday, the Minister said the officials had distributed Rs. 50,000 each to 3,000 bogus beneficiaries and the deputy commissioners had been directed to lodge criminal cases against them.

Mr. Somanna said engineers with the Habitat Centre, a non-governmental organisation, had been entrusted with detecting such cases. In Bhalki, Bidar district, a village panchayat chairman had been arrested for distributing 100 houses to his relatives with the connivance of the grama sabha. Chairman of Bagaleswara panchayat in Bijapur district, had been booked for misappropriating 100 houses. He said that money paid to bogus beneficiaries would be recovered.

Land audit

Mr. Somanna said that the land audit by the Karnataka Housing Board was complete. It had recovered 18,000 prime properties in Mandya, Gadag and other towns, worth over Rs. 1,310 crore. Many of them had been auctioned and used for meeting the expenditure of the housing board.

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