Karnataka CM-designate Shettar in land deal row
Bangalore, July 11 (IANS) On the eve of taking over as Karnataka chief minister, Jagadish Shettar was Wednesday caught in an illegal land deal row and a complaint was lodged against him in a court here.
Shettar is accused of illegally freeing from government control 178 acres of land in Bangalore outskirts six years ago when he was revenue minister in the Janata Dal-Secular-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government.
The deal for the land, which was part of 376 acre acquired by the government in Dasanapura to set up a market for farmers to sell their produce, caused a loss of around Rs.250 crore to the state at the present market rate, the complaint lodged in the Lokayukta (ombudsman) court said.
The complaint, filed by a Bangalore resident S.M. Chethan, who said he was a social activist, alleged that Shettar had violated rules to denotify (freeing from government control) 176 acres.
The complaint does not charge Shettar with benefiting monetarily or otherwise from illegal denotification. It only says the act caused huge loss to the state exchequer.
The Lokayukta court Judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao said he would consider July 21 whether a probe needs to be ordered into the charges.
Shettar joins the list of growing BJP ministers and legislators facing charges violating rules to denotify government lands to benefit the owners as market value of the land is much higher than the compensation the state offers.
BJP's first chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa heads the list of around 20 BJP ministers and legislators facing the denotification and corruption charges.
Shettar, 56, is to take oath Thursday as chief minister, succeeding D.V. Sadananda Gowda who was forced out of office because of dissidence in the ruling BJP.
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