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Housing societies in Karnataka become den of scams

Friday October 21, 2011 05:59:25 PM, V.S. Karnic, IANS

Bangalore: 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 reports.

"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 violation.

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 society.

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.



(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at vs.karnic@ians.in)


 

 

 

 

 

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