K.V. Subramanya

Land bought from the then Minister’s brother

Farmers upset at selling their land to buyer at a cheap rate

Government’s rate in taluk: Rs. 1.2 lakh an acre for arid land, Rs. 1.9 lakh for cultivable land

CHICKABALLAPUR: Even as the Opposition parties are demanding a high-level probe into the purchase of land by the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) for a housing project in Shidlaghatta taluk of Chickaballapur district, the official documents pertaining to the land deal suggest that the project was apparently planned to favour a few powerful individuals.

According to the documents available at the Sub-registrar’s office in Shidlaghatta, copies of which are in possession of The Hindu, the State Government on February 20, 2009, passed an order for purchasing 959 acres of land for the proposed project. However, barely 24 hours later, the KHB on February 21 purchased around 10 acres of land at Rs. 50 lakh an acre from S.N. Sreenivasa Shetty, brother of the then Housing Minister S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty, and his business associate A.B. Ramesh.

On the same day, the KHB, according to the documents, issued a cheque for Rs. 5.98 crore to the sellers. The cheque (No.736026) that was drawn on Corporation Bank’s S.P. Road branch, Bangalore, was encashed the same day.

In all, the KHB has purchased 30.31 acres of land from Mr. Shetty and Mr. Ramesh in G.Venkatapura, Sugutur, Buluvanahalli, Hospete and other villages in Jangamakote hobli of Shidlaghatta taluk at a cost of Rs. 15 crore. The farmers were reportedly paid only Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 16 lakh an acre by the two buyers. The Government’s fixed rate in the taluk, according to official sources, was Rs. 1.2 lakh an acre for arid land and Rs. 1.9 lakh for cultivable land.

Agitated farmers who had sold their land at a cheap rate to Mr. Shetty and Mr. Ramesh, on learning that their land had been resold for a whopping Rs. 50 lakh an acre, alleged that the two had purchased land from them with the sole intention of selling the same to the KHB at a hefty price.

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