Lokayukta ADGP in a spot over wife’s beach house

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H N Sathyanarayana Rao

Bangalore, Aug 11, 2013: The Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Lokayukta, H N Sathyanarayana Rao is in an eye of a controversy over the construction of a house belonging to his wife Lakshmi Rao near the Maravanthe beach in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district. It is  alleged that the house has been built in violation of environmental norms that bars construction activities in coastal areas.

According to the documents obtained through RTI, available with Deccan Herald, the regional director, Forest, Environment and Ecology department, Udupi, received a complaint in 2008 about the construction of a house within 500 metres from the coast at Maravanthe in Udupi in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. His direction to the Panchayat secretary of Maravanthe did not yield any result. This compelled the regional director to serve a show cause notice on the Panchayat secretary.

Documents reveal that the Panchayat secretary gave a report that the construction activity had been stopped which was contrary to the fact.

Finally, the regional director served a notice on Lakshmi Rao in 2009 asking her to submit all the relevant documents pertaining to the construction of the house, which she did not. The officer then warned of legal action in the event of illegalities in the construction of the building.

Yet, the construction was completed.

In a meeting with the district level officers on October 19, 2011, the regional director listed 22 names, who constructed buildings in violation of CRZ norms and Lakshmi Rao’s name figured prominently. The status of the building continues to be in violation of the coastal area norms, show the documents.

Landward facing house

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Sathyanarayana Rao said: “The house was built on the piece of land on which an old house existed. It had its own door number. Moreover, we have obtained no objection certificates (NoC) from the Panchayat at the very phase of construction. The CRZ is applicable to seaward facing construction. But, ours is a landward facing house, so the violation of CRZ norm does not apply.”

He added that there are several seaward facing properties in the area, but the authorities are mum over it. But, he admitted that he was completely caught off guard for being dragged into a controversy on the piece of land that his family had disposed of much before he assumed the position in the Lokayukta.

In July 2013,  ex-councillor of Hulimavu and RTI activist Lakshminarayana who has filed a private complaint against Sathyanarayana Rao in the Special Lokayukta Court here had alleged that the  ADGP owned a hidden property.  Lakshminarayana had submitted documents indicating that Sathyanarayana Rao owned a bungalow worth more than Rs two crore and had registered it in his wife’s Lakshmi Rao’s name.

The complainant also alleged that this bungalow had been bought with money received as illegal gratification and, was not mentioned anytime during the time of filing assets and liabilities. The matter is now before the court.

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