Minister for Urban Development, Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar and the former Housing Minister Krishnaiah Setty on Friday appeared before the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force for deposition.
The duo was quizzed by the BMTF’s Deputy Superintendent of Police N.T. Pramod Rao in connection with returning of four acres and 20 guntas of land at Laggere in the city to K. Gopinath, brother of an RSS functionary, in violation of the Karnataka Urban Land Ceiling Act (KULCA). According to BMTF sources, Mr. Suresh Kumar, accompanied by his counsel, deposed before DySP around noon. He was quizzed for nearly 45 minutes about his role. Return of land is not permissible once it is acquired under the KULCA.
Mr. Kumar reportedly expressed his ignorance and sought to see the files in possession of the investigating officer. He claimed that legal experts were consulted while returning the land.
After Mr. Kumar left, Mr. Krishnaiah Setty too reached the BMTF police station along with his lawyer and deposed before DySP Rao at about 1 p.m. During his 1 hour 45-minute grilling, he too gave a similar statement. The duo was asked to appear for the next deposition on November 23.
In the complaint, Mr. Kumar and Mr. Setty played key roles in returning 4.2 acres — acquired in 1982 — to Mr. Gopinath. Of the 16 acres 10 guntas acquired under the KULCA, 4.2 acres were given to Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) to construct houses for the urban poor. When the process to start constructing was in the final stage, Mr. Kumar and Mr. Setty allegedly orchestrated the return of the land despite KSDB’s opposition.