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In a rather surprising development, the alleged land grabbing case in the Supreme Court against Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar was withdrawn nearly three years after it was filed.
The matter was mentioned by Advocate-on-Record Anantha Narayana MG on behalf of petitioner Kabbale Gowda seeking leave to withdraw the petition.
The Bench of Justices AK Sikri, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah allowed the same.
The land in question, around 4.20 acres, was notified land which had been acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). The Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act, 1991 prohibits the transfer of land acquired by the government.
Despite that, DK Shivakumar had acquired the land from one BK Srinivasan. Shivakumar was the Urban Development Minister during that period.
He had got the kathas, pahanies and mutation carried out in December 2003, while he was serving as the Urban Development Minister. It has been alleged that no process of inviting objections or mandatory waiting period of 30 days was followed in getting the entries mutated. An investigation by the police revealed that at time of mutation, the entries were in the name of BDA. Even before the de-notification, the entries were mutated in the name of the accused without notice to the BDA.
Shivakumar had then entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Prudential Housing and Infrastructure Development Ltd, and sought a change of land use from industrial to residential.
He is then alleged to have written three letters in his own name seeking de-notification of land while concealing that he is the owner of the land. He is alleged to have cited previous owner, Srinivasan – who had by then passed away – as the owner of the land.
The land was eventually de-notified by the Yeddyurappa government.
The trial was underway against Shivakumar under the Prevention of Corruption Act, when the High Court intervened and quashed the case, holding that no criminal case is made out.
The Karnataka government had not appealed against the said decision, leaving it to the private complainant Kabbale Gowda to appeal against the judgment.
The Supreme Court had issued formal notice in the appeal in January 2018 nearly two years after the appeal was filed.
Shivakumar is currently serving as Irrigation Minister in the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet. He has earlier served as the State Energy Minister.
Read the order below.