Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Karnataka BJP's land scandals embroil RSS affiliates

Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) land scandals in Karnataka that have landed its first chief minister in jail now seem to spread to affiliates of the party's mentor, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

New Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, still struggling to establish his authority nearly three months after taking over, has promised action if land allotment to RSS affiliates in Bangalore is proved illegal.

"I have heard that reports have appeared in media in Delhi and here (about land allotment to RSS and its affiliates). If it (allotment) is unlawful, action will be taken," he told reporters here Wednesday.

Gowda did not elaborate on the action that will be taken.

"We will have to study it," he said.

The reports of alleged favours to outfits of "Sangh Parivar" - a term used to refer to the RSS, its affiliates, BJP and pro-Hindu organizations - came as embarrassment continued to mount on to the ruling BJP over land deals or land grab.

One more law maker of the BJP, S. Muniraju, Wednesday came under police probe for fabricating documents to grab land belonging to a resident of his constituency Dasarahalli on Bangalore's outskirts.

The Lokayukta (ombudsman) court judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao ordered the police to complete the probe by Nov 19 and submit a report.

Muniraju is the sixth ruling party law maker to be embroiled in controversial land deals.

Apart from Yeddyurappa, other ruling party lawmakers fighting illegal land deals cases are former ministers Katta Subramanya Naidu and S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty.

Home Minister R. Ashoka and Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani are being probed for land grab.

Yeddyurappa is alleged to have violated norms to allot prime land to RSS affiliates in Bangalore and in city outskirts when he was chief minister.

He is now in jail in two corruption and illegal land deals cases filed against him in January this year. He quit July 31 after the Lokayukta (ombudsman) recommended his trial for corruption in the illegal mining scam. Yeddyurappa's bail plea hearing is resuming in the high court here Thursday.

Yeddyurappa is reported to have allotted over 900 square metre land in upscale Sadashivanagar in north Bangalore to Rashtrotthana Parishath, an RSS affiliate. The land was meant for civic amenities - generally for parks or building for community activity.

He is also alleged to have allotted 10 acres of land near Bangalore to a school affiliated to the RSS.

A spokesperson of Rashtrotthana Parishath denied illegality in land allotments and told reporters norms had been followed.

Land in Bangalore has become a precious commodity as the city's population has been rapidly growing in the last two decades, particularly after it became the nation's IT hub.

The population now stands at 8.5 million and growing every day as scores of people from others parts of the state and the country flock to the city as IT-fuelled economy throws up job opportunities.

Adding to the problem is encroachment of government land, which is rampant not only in Bangalore but across the state.

A panel appointed by Yeddyurappa in 2009 reported in July this year that 40,000 acres of government land in Bangalore had been encroached.

The government is yet to act on the report.

From Ummid 

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