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Land acquisition: Deve Gowda writes to Dharam Singh

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, AUG. 6. The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President, H.D. Deve Gowda's demand for a comprehensive inquiry against the former Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, and the former Commissioner of the Bangalore Development Authority, Jayakar Jerome, with regard to the various decisions and projects taken up by the authority in the last five years, will not be without its ripples in the coalition Government in the State.

29-page letter

Mr. Deve Gowda has made the demand in a 29-page letter to the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, copies of which were released to the press here on Friday. It is the second such demand being placed before the coalition Government by Mr. Deve Gowda. He has reiterated his demand for a CBI probe into the acquisition of land for the land intensive Bangalore-Mysore Expressway Project.

However, on Thursday, the Public Works Minister and one of the sons of Mr. Deve Gowda, H.D. Revanna, saw no reason for a probe into the project when the matter came up in the Assembly. But he added that the matter was left to the Chief Minister.

`Investigate Shivakumar'

Mr. Deve Gowda has also sought an inquiry against the Congress MLA, D.K. Shivakumar, who was a member of the S.M. Krishna Cabinet, for the permission granted to the Vyalikaval Society to form a layout on 300 acres of land close to the Hebbal flyover. The inquiry should find out whether a BDA contractor or Mr. Shivakumar was behind the permission granted to the Society.

Press influenced?

Beginning the letter with a reference to the Arkavathi Layout where the allotment of sites had been stayed by the Government, Mr. Deve Gowda has said Mr. Jerome managed a section of the press in such a way that it was made out as an instance of harassment of an efficient and capable official. The Government was shown in poor light as not being interested in protecting the interests of the people who had applied for sites in the layout.

During his five years in office, it had become routine for the newspapers to describe Mr. Jerome's "heroics" especially with regard to the demolition of houses and other buildings allegedly built unauthorisedly on BDA land. The undue publicity only helped in covering up the irregularities committed by the BDA in his period, Mr. Deve Gowda has said.

Rs. 40-cr. loss

Mr. Deve Gowda has estimated that the loss to the BDA on account of accepting inflated estimates for the civil works in the various layouts formed by it was Rs. 40 crores. The allotment of alternative sites was a major scandal in the last five years, and 750 such sites were allotted.

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