Cooperative housing societies that are supposed to be a boon for
the not-so-rich to own a plot or an apartment in cities seem to
have become den of illegal dealings in Karnataka.
Over 100 of them, including one connected with the legislature and
another with the judiciary, are now under the government's
scanner. These are the Karnataka State Legislature Employees
Housing Cooperative Society and the Karnataka Judicial Employees
House Building Cooperative Society.
The government plans to supersede the management of the
Legislature Employees Society following reports of large-scale
irregularities. It has served notice to the society's management
seeking its response.
Another society in Bangalore facing similar action is the
Vyalikaval House Building Society.
Three teams have been formed to probe the dealings of 81 housing
societies in Bangalore and 31 in Mysore, about 130 km from here.
The teams have been given time till this year-end to submit their
"The teams will collect evidence on irregularities in acquiring
and possessing lands, allotment of sites, whether layout plans
have approval and financial dealings," a spokesperson of the
Cooperative Department told IANS.
The government decided to investigate the dealings of the housing
societies in view of complaints of large-scale illegalities in
them, according to Cooperation Minister Laxman Savadi.
The dealings of some of these societies, particularly the Judicial
Employees and the Vyalikaval, have already taken a heavy toll in
the resignation of former Supreme Court judge Shivaraj V. Patil as
Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman).
Patil acquired a house plot from the Judicial Employees Society
though he had already owned a house in Bangalore. He also got one
more site from Vyalikaval Society in his wife's name.
Housing society rules do not permit allotment for those who
already own a house or site.
Patil denied violating any rules in acquiring two sites from two
housing societies. He said several Supreme Court and Karnataka
high court judges had been allotted sites by the Judicial Housing
Society and none of them was asked to file an affidavit stating
whether they already own a house or a site.
Regarding the site from Vyalikaval society, he said it was not
allotted but bought in auction. Hence here too there was no rule
Still, he said, he was resigning in view of "malicious" campaign
by the media against him for acquiring two sites from two housing
societies while already owning a house in Bangalore.
R. Gururajan, one of the two Upa Lokayuktas and a former judge of
the high court, has also quit. Though he gave medical reasons for
leaving the post, he too has a site from the Judicial society and
another on lease from another society.
The Judicial Employees Society, established in 1983, had come in
for scathing criticism from a state legislature committee that
went into land encroachments in Bangalore. In its report submitted
in 2007 it had severely criticised the society for several lapses
in land acquisition, layout plan and site allotments.
Another society that is often in the news for cases filed against
it is the Vishwa Bharati House Building Cooperative Society.
Former chief minister H. D. Kumarawamy and his legislator-wife
Anita are now fighting a legal battle for getting a site from this
Kumaraswamy has been charged by a Bangalore advocate, Vinod Kumar,
with favouring the society with large tracts of land in Bangalore
in return for a site for Anita.
The high-profile politician-couple has been granted anticipatory
bail by the high court and is now busy seeking regular bail from
the Lokayukta court which is hearing the case against them.
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