Yeddyurappa charge sheeted in land case

Bangalore, May 21: Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was Monday charge sheeted in a land case, further weakening him in his battle to unseat his successor D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in Karnataka has been charged with “criminal misconduct as public servant” to cause a loss of over Rs.80 million to the state government.

The charge sheet under several provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been filed against Yeddyurappa, Superintendent of Police P.K. Shivashankara, attached to the lokayukta (ombudsman), told reporters here.

Yeddyurappa is charged with “criminal misconduct as public servant in arbitrarily denotifying (freeing from government control) land” on Bangalore’s outskirts.

“Denotification’ is a process to free the land acquired by a government agency for infrastructure or common purpose. Once the government announces that land is being acquired in any area, prices shoot up as various facilities are expected to come up in the area. Those with clout get the acquired land freed and sell it at market rate as the amount government pays for the land is much less.

Shivashankara said in 2008 Yeddyurappa had “illegally denotified” 20 acres acquired by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) for setting up a Special Economic Zone near Devanahalli, about 35 km from city centre.

The new Bangalore International Airport has come up in Devanahalli following which land around the area has become pricey.

The police officer said though KIADB has spent over Rs.80 million on developing the 20 acres, the land was given back to its owners without recovering the money spent on development.

Shivashankara said the land was “denotified” though KIADB officials had in 2006 rejected the request of the land owners.

Yeddyurappa was chief minister between May 30, 2008 and July 31, 2011, when he was forced to quit over mining bribery charges. Gowda took over Aug 4.

He is facing around a dozen cases of corruption and illegal land “denotification”.

He, his two sons and son-in-law are also under Central Bureau of Investigation probe into charges of taking kickbacks from mining companies in return for favours. One son B.Y. Raghavendra is BJP lok Sabha member from Shimoga, about 280km north of Bangalore.

Though battling these cases, Yeddyurappa has been making frantic efforts to unseat Gowda and has been taking potshots at BJP national leaders for several weeks now.

IANS