Lokayukta may probe sale of government land by BPL

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BANGALORE: Electronics major of yesteryear, BPL, has been accused of selling government land to private companies.

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) in 1996 allotted 149 acres in Somapura (Nelamangala taluk of Bangalore Rural district) to BPL to manufacture colour television picture tubes. Apart from putting up a small shed, the company didn’t set up an industrial unit.

In November 2006, the then medium and large scale industries minister Katta Subramanya Naidu in the JD(S)-BJP coalition government gave the company an absolute sale deed. “BPL sold the same plot to three private companies at a very high price which is absolutely illegal,” chief minister Siddaramaiah told the legislative council on Wednesday.

Siddaramaiah indicated he may ask the Lokayukta to probe the transaction.

Raising the issue, MLCs E Krishnappa (JDS) and YA Narayanaswamy (BJP) alleged that KIADB acquired land from farmers and paid a meagre sum of Rs 1.1 lakh compensation per acre. Under single unit complex scheme, the Board allotted 149 acre to BPL company at a cost of Rs 3.5 lakh per acre and entered into a agreement in April 1996. Following a writ petition, the Karnataka High Court quashed board’s allotment to BPL in July 1997. The Supreme court quashed HC order and allowed the company to establish colour television picture tube unit in the allotted land.

Siddaramaiah said the company, without setting up a unit, in July 2005 applied to the Board to give absolute sale deed to it. “However, the Board issued notice to the company as only 5.12% of the total land allotted was utilized by putting up a shed,” he said.

BPL submitted a memorandum to the government in September 2006 stating due to hardship it faced fighting legal tangles it could not establish the unit. Following the memorandum, Katta directed the Board to hand over absolute sale deed of 149 acres to BPL in November 2006.

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