Khata faked to change status of hundreds of revenue sites

BANGALORE: In 2009, P Hanume Gowda who worked as a manager with a private company purchased a 1,250 sq ft revenue site for Rs 10 lakh from a realtor at Vidyaranyapuram, near Yelahanka, north Bangalore.

Post retirement, Gowda decided to pool in all his savings and build his dream home but fell short of Rs 5 lakh.

He desperately tried to raise loans from various banks. But his application was rejected on the ground that his revenue site didn’t have the required clearances. Gowda didn’t lose heart. Instead, with the help of a tout, he approached a BBMP officer in the revenue wing and sealed a murky deal.

The deal was to upgrade his ‘B’ Khata (certificate without title deeds and deviations) to ‘A’ Khata (certificate issued for no deviations and property ownership), provided he paid a betterment fee of Rs 2 lakh and service charge (read bribe) of Rs 3 lakh. An elated Gowda agreed to the deal but on the condition that he would pay the money only after raising the bank loan and after the BBMP issues him an ‘A’ Khata. Gowda’s decision was worth the money he spent as the value of the property has increased by about four times since.

In what’s being perceived as one of the biggest bribery scandals of recent times, hundreds of such instances of Khata manipulation are tumbling out of the BBMP’s closet . “It has not only caused significant losses to government coffers but also rendered the proposed Akrama-Sakrama scheme (regularization of building byelaw violations and land use in urban areas) redundant,” said a BBMP official.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah, who got a whiff of the scam at a recent meeting held to discuss the garbage crisis, has ordered an enquiry, which is to pull out more skeletons from the BBMP’s cupboard. “During preliminary investigations we found some 2,000 revenue sites being issued ‘A’ Khatas in one particular area. There could be several more,” said an RTI activist, who blew the lid off the scam.

How it all began

It all began earlier this year after a cash-strapped BBMP came out with a scheme to mobilize revenue of about Rs 200 crore. Corrupt officials, meanwhile, sparingly began issuing ‘A’ khata to revenue plot owners after fixing a sum for faking required clearances. The BBMP scheme though was intended to regularize revenue sites which had all the required documents such as the chain of title conveyance, sale agreement, tax receipts, and mutation extract but only awaiting the stamp of legitimacy from BBMP.

Report sought

I have asked the zonal officers concerned to submit a report on such cases in their respective jurisdiction. Based on their report and the magnanimity of the case, I will appoint a right inquiry officer in sync with the chief minister’s directions. | M Lakshminarayana | BBMP commissioner


* Revenue sites are plots that lack clearances, particularly land use conversion and layout plan approval

* According to rules, an agricultural land can be used for residential or commercial purpose only after land use conversion is approved either by the panchayat or the deputy commissioner

* Layout plans are approved by civic agencies like the BDA or the jurisdictional local planning area authority. These agencies grant clearances only after certain portion of the land is earmarked for civic amenities

* An ‘A’ Khata may double the property’s value as it becomes legitimate and eligible for bank loans.