Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Janardhan Reddy lands in Big lafda

Janardhan Reddy lands in Big lafda
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The Joint Legislature Committee probing encroachment of government land, on Tuesday claimed to have unearthed a major land-grabbing case in the upmarket Koramangala area involving several swanky properties including a Big Bazaar building owned by suspended BJP MLC Janardhan Reddy.

Committee Chairman A T Ramaswamy, after inspecting the spot, told reporters that 8.11 acres of prime commercial land along Madiwala Road in Koramangala (bearing survey numbers 149, 148, 154 and 137 of Begur hobli), has been encroached upon by big builders by creating fictitious documents.
The estimated cost of the encroached land is Rs 325 crore. However, Mr Ramaswamy did not divulge the name of any encroacher.
It’s mine: Reddy
When contacted, Mr Reddy confirmed over phone from Bellary to Deccan Herald that he had purchased a Big Bazaar building — a part of the property that has been allegedly encroached upon — two years ago for Rs 33 crore.
He also added that the High Court has issued a stay on a Karnataka Land Tribunal order holding that the property belonged to the government.
According to Mr Ramaswamy, the encroached land houses many huge buildings like Salarpuria Towers, UCO Bank, Globus, Raheja Arcade and an Indian Oil Corporation petrol bunk.
“All these buildings are illegal as they have been built upon encroached government land, and I have directed officials to recover the entire property,” he stated.
He said the encroached property was originally an inam land granted to some persons to carry out agricultural activities till 1950s. But in 1956 the beneficiaries did not apply for re-grant of land, Mr Ramaswamy said.
In 1982, some five persons claimed the ownership of the land by producing fictitious records, which was challenged by the Revenue department in the court. The case went on for 20 years in the High Court before the single-judge bench which in 2002 upheld the Revenue department’s claim over the land, he added.
The single-judge order was challenged before the divisional bench, which in 2004 directed the Karnataka Land Tribunal to hear the case. The tribunal also upheld the department’s claim and directed the government to recover the encroached land on July 30, 2007, Mr Ramaswamy said, adding that efforts to get a stay on the tribunal order by the encroachers have been in vain.
Though the case went on for nearly 24 years, Mr Ramaswamy pointed out, huge commercial complexes came up on the disputed property, illegally.
“This also shows that the officials were hand in glove with the encroachers,” he charged.
According to Mr Ramaswamy, these buildings are together earning a whopping Rs six crore rent annually.
‘We have no idea’
Mr Ramaswamy, however, did not confirm that Mr Reddy was the owner of Big Bazaar which stood on a part of the encroached land. He merely said: “The committee has no idea about Mr Reddy being the owner of Big Bazaar. The committee acted up on a complaint that the government land has been encroached. Our action is not politically motivated,” he added.
Moreover, Mr Reddy might have only bought the property recently and that he does not figure in the list of encroachers.
“I will able to confirm the ownership of Big Bazaar after verifying documents,” he said.
Bangalore: The ongoing drive against government land encroachment in and around Bangalore City is all set for a climax. For, the Joint Legislature Committee probing the encroachment will start making public instances of land grabbing by “influential” persons from the first week of next month.
“I along with other members will start inspecting encroachments by influential persons from next week,” Committee Chairman A T Ramaswamy told reporters in Bangalore on Tuesday. He said that a list of 160 persons has been prepared and inspection will be conducted in batches. These cases are important not only because of the VIP involvement but also because they involve assets worth several crores of rupees, he added.
Mr Ramaswamy, however, did not divulge the names of the “influential” persons.


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