The committee that probed into the grant for those who lost land to the Hemavati Reservoir Project (HRP) has unearthed many irregularities in the process. Hundreds of applicants got land by submitting fake records. Signature of the land acquisition officer was forged and in some cases, the government’s directions were ignored.
Hassan Deputy Commissioner R. Girish, on Thursday, submitted a detailed report on the issue to the Principal Secretary of the Revenue Department. In his covering letter, the DC recommended a probe by a retired judge into applications handled by Ravichandra Naik, a KAS officer, besides other measures. Hundreds of people lost their land for the project in 1970s. The grant of alternative land to land-losers has been going on over the years. The government had set December 30, 2017, as the deadline to submit applications to seek land.
Following allegations of irregularities and corruption in grant of land, the district administration formed a committee under the chairmanship of H.L. Nagaraj, Assistant Commissioner of Hassan, to probe the issue. Revenue Minister R. Ashok, during his recent visit to Hassan, had said that he would conduct a probe once he received the preliminary report from the district administration.
Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Mr. Girish said: “The report has been submitted to the government. I have recommended a few measures. From now on, land cannot be granted by one official. The applications have to go through a committee of senior officers.”
B.A. Jagadish, who was Special Land Acquisition Officer earlier, in his submission before the enquiry committee, stated that his sign was forged in 50 cases cleared during his tenure. The committee has resolved to cancel sanction of land in the 50 cases, besides slapping criminal case against the beneficiaries.
In the tenure of Mr. Naik, between April 17, 2018 and June 8, 2018, as many as 300 applicants were granted land. The officer, in his submission to the committee said among the 300 cases, his signature in 108 cases was forged. However, the same officer appeared before the committee again and withdrew his previous statement. Considering the officer’s change in statement suspicious, the DC recommended a probe into all applications. Besides them, another 414 cases has been resolved illegally. However, it is not clear who resolved them. “The sanction of land with regard to 414 applications has not been done from the office of Land Acquisition Officer. Directions have been given to file criminal cases,” the DC said in his letter.