Friday, January 30, 2009

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites

Panel will confirm old news: BDA allotted 300 illegal sites
By: B V Shiva Shankar
Date: 2009-01-29


But inquiry committee's report to be submitted on Saturday says nothing about punishing culprits. A report without action is meaningless, says RTI activist who unearthed the scam

BDA is expected to cancel all illegally allotted alternative sites, next month, based on an inquiry report to be submitted on January 31.

After missing two deadlines, the inquiry committee will finally report its findings at the end of the month.

The committee was constituted under the superintendent of police in Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) based on MiDDAY reports that had triggered heated arguments in the Legislative Assembly and Council, last year.

Deadline given

The committee was given a deadline of three months from August, which was extended to December and then again to January 31. "We cannot go on asking for more time, and this time we have to meet the deadline," said Mallikarjunaiah, SP, BDA. "It should not be a problem, as we have completed investigation."

According to sources in the BDA, the committee had found several irregularities and the report would recommend cancellation of about 300 alternative sites allotted illegally. However, the report is understood to have kept mum about punishing the culprits.

"Cancelling sites alone won't help," said B M Shiva Kumar, who unearthed the scam using the Right to Information (RTI) Act. "Culprits have to be booked."

Conniving with scamsters, officials in BDA had allotted high-end sites as alternative ones against cheaper sites, flouting norms. As a rule alternative sites can be allotted only when the original site is not fit for occupation due to litigation or other reasons. But, the alternative sites were given in exchange of the sites that were free of problems.

There were instances where commercial sites in prime locations were allotted as against domestic sites ten times less than the actual worth.

In a startling revelation, a particular family had got 80 alternative sites, and the head of the family who was an auto driver a couple of years ago became a multi-millionaire.


Following the MiDDAY reports, several BDA officials including the commissioner and secretary were transferred.

But, an enquiry was ordered only after legislators raised the issue in the House.

"We will submit the report to the chairman of the Legislative Council on January 31," said Siddiah, BDA commissioner. "It's for the House to decide on it."

However, RTI activists are not happy. "Earlier, an inquiry report by a deputy secretary had clearly indicted the then secretary and commissioner. Even the department of personnel and administrative reforms was asked to take action against them," said Shiva Kumar.

"But nothing has happened yet, and another report is coming. It would be meaningless without a definite action."


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