Karnataka BJP hit by another land grab scandal


Mysore (Karnataka) : In yet another instance of allegations of illegal land deals against Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a legislator and a state minister now face charges of grabbing land in this city.

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Legislator G. Madhusudan, who has accused Medical Education Minister S.A. Ramdas of trying to grab over 400 acres of land at the foothills of Chamundi hills in the city, is now facing charges of getting a civic amenities site illegally.

Madhusudan, a member of the legislative council, has been demanding action against Ramdas, who has denied the charges and offered to quit the post if proved otherwise.

On Monday, a civic group in this city, about 130 km from the state capital Bangalore, told reporters here that Madhusudan himself was involved in getting at a throwaway price over three acres of land for a trust he heads.

M. Lakshmana, founder of Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore, claimed that the market value of the land was around Rs.45 crore but Madhusudan got it for the trust paying around Rs.700,000.

Madhusudan denied that he was involved with the trust but acknowledged that he had recommended to the government that the land be allotted to the trust.

He said he would give a detailed response at a formal press meet in the city Tuesday.

On Sunday, Ramdas told reporters here that he had written to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa to order a probe into Madhusudan’s charges against him.

Madhusudan claimed that Ramdas was helping the former royal family of Mysore get around 2,000 acres of land around Chamundi hills in return for getting 400 acres of it for himself.

The minister said he would wait till Dec 2 for the government to order the probe. If it was not done, he would move the high court seeking a directive to the government for an inquiry.

Ramdas and Madhusudan join a list of over 20 party legislators, several of whom are ministers, fighting land grab cases or facing charges of illegal land deals.

The BJP has 119 members in the 225-member assembly and 44 members in the 75-member legislative council.

Topping the list of party legislators fighting illegal land deals cases is BJP’s first chief minister in the south B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has announced plans to quit the party and launch a regional outfit Dec 9.

The state assembly elections are due next May. The BJP came to power for the first time in the state in the May 2008 assembly polls.