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Karnataka Minister accused of land grab, named in chargesheet

By The Hindu Bureau

S. R. Hiremath, president of Samaj Parivartana Samudaya (SPS) and Citizens For Democracy (CFD), has demanded the resignation of Transport Minister B. Sreeramulu as he has been named as accused in a land grab case pertaining to 27.25 acres in Ballari. The social activist also demanded an impartial probe.

Releasing documents related to the case at a media conference in Hubballi on May 13, Mr. Hiremath said that a study team of National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources (NCPNR) and Jan Sangram Parishat (JSP) unearthed documents pertaining to a case of land grab (of 27.25 acres) allegedly by creating fake documents involving the Transport Minister.

Following a court’s direction, the Lokayukta police of Ballari filed a chargesheet against various persons, including Mr. Sreeramulu. The case had been transferred to the designated court of Peoples Representatives established by the government in Bengaluru.

“MLA of Molakalmuru and Minister Mr. Sreeramulu has been named as accused No. 6 in the chargesheet in the case dating back to 2002. Such being the case, Mr. Sreeramulu should immediately resign from his post,” he said.

Mr. Hiremath accused the Minister of creating false documents to take control of the land of which a 10-acre portion was acquired by the Karnataka Government for construction of a canal.

Court takes cognisance

Following a private complaint by an individual, Principal District and Sessions Judge at Ballari had directed the Lokayukta police of Ballari to file a report. The Lokayukta police had registered crime No. 9/2013. “The Principal District and Sessions Judge, Ballari transferred the case to the court of Peoples Representative in Bengaluru on March 3, 2022. Molakalmuru MLA B. Sreeramulu has been named as accused No. 6 in the case,” Mr. Hiremath said.

Mr. Hiremath wants the Karnataka Government to set up an independent inquiry committee, headed by the likes of former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, to carry out an impartial inquiry. He wants the Minister to resign till completion of the investigation.

Mineral Fund

He wants said money from the Mineral Fund to be utilised only for R&R (Reclamation and Rehabilitation) purpose in the mining affected districts of Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru, and for the welfare of the affected persons in these districts.

Mr. Hiremath welcomed the recent decision of the Supreme Court of India to appoint former judge of Supreme Court, Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy as ‘Oversight Authority’ to oversee the works and progress of implementation of comprehensive environment plan for Mining Impact Zone for Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts.

U.P. model

Mr. Hiremath said, “Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has been named after twelfth century social reformer Basavanna. But by following in the footsteps of Uttar Pradesh, he has thrown the ideals of Basavanna to the winds.”

Taking exception to the recent developments pertaining to imposing a ban on Muslim traders, halal and hijab, Mr. Hiremath said that the ideology of the Sangh Parivar is detrimental to India.

“Those who were behind the Gujarat riots have occupied important positions in the government. Now, efforts are under way to create similar violence at the national level,” he alleged.

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