Under intense opposition pressure over alleged land scams, the BJP government in Karnataka has decided to order a judicial probe into denotification of land in the last 10 years.
The probe will be conducted either by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.
A cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa took the decision to order the probe into denotification of land by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board and Bangalore Development Authority in the last decade that covers the Congress and H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-BJP rule.
“If a retired Supreme Court judge is unavailable, then the inquiry will be headed by a retired High Court judge,” Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said.
The terms of reference would be decided later by Yeddyurappa, who is enmeshed in controversy over allotment of KIADB lands to his daughter and denotifying lands BDA acquired to favour his sons — B Y Raghavendra, B Y Vijendra and son-in-law Sohan Kumar.
Yeddyurappa, who had two days ago announced that he would elicit the opinion of opposition leaders on having a judicial probe, however dropped the consultation idea and decided to go in for the inquiry.
A belligerent JD(S) stepped up its pressure, filing a complaint against Yeddyurappa with the Lokayukta for denotifying lands, claiming it was a Rs 5,000-crore scam to favour his family members and others.
“We have filed a 580-page complaint before Lokayukta with specific allegations against the Chief Minister for denotifying valuable government land to favour members of his family, including his sons Raghavendra and Vijay Kumar and some others,” said JD(S) spokesperson Y S V Dutta.
Yeddyurappa came under opposition attack after he denotified about two acres acquired by BDA for the Arkavathy residential layout, allegedly favouring his sons and son-in-law.
He also faced allegations of allotting land for industrial purpose to his daughter Umadevi and in favour of some people including a mines owner, causing a major embarassment to the first ever BJP government in the South.
In the midst of the snowballing controversy, Yeddyurappa defended his action, asserting he had not done anything in violation of rules. The practice of denotification has been going on during the time of previous government as well.