Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Adding to the mystery, Urban Development Minister S Suresh Kumar orders probe against the state town planning department director for disregarding building by-laws, but ignores others indicted by Lok Ayukta
Niranjan.Kaggere @timesgroup.com

The Lok Ayukta strikes again. Urban Development Minister S Suresh Kumar has ordered an inquiry against state town planning department Director H B Mukund after he was indicted by the Lok Ayukta for ignoring building by-laws in collusion with a developer.
Strangely, Kumar has not ordered any sort of inquiry against the other officials indicted by the Lok Ayukta. Unfortunately for the complainants, due to the time lapsed between the Lok Ayukta probing the allegations and submitting its report to the government, and the minister ordering the inquiry, the 14-storey building in the middle of the controversy is now ready for occupation.
According to documents obtained by Bangalore Mirror, Bysani Developers came up with a plan to construct a 14-storey residential building near Madhavan Rao Park in Jayanagar Ist block in 2005 and got BBMP’s permission for the same.
But, residents of the locality, led by B L G Rao and C N Kumar, complained to the Lok Ayukta that permission for construction was issued without verifying the width of the road abutting the property. They named the director of the town planning department, BBMP commissioner, chairman and the chief engineer of BWSSB and DGP (fire and emergency services) in their complaint.
Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde ordered an inquiry that found the allegations to be true.
In its report to the Urban Development Department, the Lok Ayukta said, “The director (state town planning) and the member (town planning, BDA) have deliberately twisted the by-laws so as to extend illegal favour to M/s Bysani Developers. The BBMP commissioner has totally ignored the report of his own joint commissioner over the property, and the chairman and chief engineer of BWSSB too behaved in a manner unbecoming of public servants in not protecting the property of the BWSSB.” It indicted Mukund in at least two cases of violations of building by-laws and layout, allegedly in collusion with Bysani Developers.
The report also held former BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena, town planning department (BDA) members Rangesh and Topgi, BWSSB Chairman P B Ramamurthy and BWSSB Chief Engineer Venkat Raju responsible for dereliction of duty and misconduct, and recommended departmental inquiries.
The report was submitted to the urban development department in December 2009 with a direction to initiate suitable action against the erring babus within three months.
By then, the BBMP had already withdrawn approval for the construction map and licence for the building until further orders. However, the government did not take action against any of the officials. Hegde had cited inaction on this report as one of the reasons for his resignation in July 2010.
Even opposition leader Siddaramaiah had written to the minister concerned about this report in May 2010.
Finally on June 26, Suresh Kumar, acting on the Lok Ayukta report as well as the letter by opposition leader Siddaramaiah, directed Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) managing director Aravind Srivatsav to conduct a detailed investigation into the allegations and submit a report at the earliest.
Mukund, however, told Bangalore Mirror, “My name has been unnecessarily dragged into the matter though I was nowhere related to the case. The high court had in June ruled that if all the sanctioning authorities are satisfied with the approved plan and licence, how can the Lok Ayukta interfere based on a third party’s complaint? Since the HC has given its order, the minister’s order for an inquiry becomes redundant.”
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