news Friday, April 24, 2015 - 05:30
Days after his name was dragged into the mystery surrounding the death of IAS officer DK Ravi in Bengaluru, Karnataka’s Home Minister KJ George finds himself in the midst of another controversy.   This time, the controversy relates to a plot allotted to the minister’s wife Suja George by Vyalikaval House Building Co-operative Society (VHBCS) in 2004 and later surrendered.   Documents show that on May 14, 2004, a site measuring 60*40 ft was registered in the name of Suja by VHBCS for Rs 8.4 lakh and a stamp duty and registration charge of Rs 75,940 and Rs 8,670, respectively was paid.  On the same date, the adjacent site No.605 was registered in favour of KJ Kuruvilla, George’s brother for which Suja was a General Power of Attorney holder.   While allotting sites, the society has claimed in the sale deeds that Suja George and Kuruvilla  were members  and eligible for allotment but no details of membership was mentioned.   Alleged violations   1. Societies are prohibited from allotting sites to members if he or his family owns a site or house already. KJ George had obtained a G Category Site (No     1433) in 1992, when he had served as the Urban Development minister in the S Bangarappa Government.   2. In his 2008 election affidavit, wife’s site was not mentioned. George got elected as an MLA from Sarvgnanagar constituency.   3. In early 2013, after a huge controversy broke out, the Karnataka government set up a committee to look at G category sites. Elections were announced on March 20, 2013, and the very next day, George’s wife surrendered her site.   Mystery of the witnesses and next buyer   Whistleblower and activist Hiremath says the guidance value of the site in 2013 was close to Rs 50 lakh, but Suja George got paid only Rs 8.40 lakh for surrendering the site.   In July 2013, the plot was bought by a person called Ismail Shariff, again for Rs 8.40 lakh cash, in spite of the guidance value close to Rs 50 lakh, market price estimated to be around Rs 1 crore.   Incidentally, the two witnesses, DP Alva and HS Sachidanand, who signed for Suja George’s plot cancellation and Shariff’s purchase, were the same.   Half truths   KJ George has been parroting the same justification to most media outlets that Alva, Sachidananda and Shariff were known to him, but he had nothing to do with Shariff buying the plot.     George told News X channel, “Vayalikavil society itself was declared illegal by the Supreme Court. I gave letter for surrender in 2011, but it was cancelled only in 2013. Why will I hold on to a cancelled plot?”   This statement by the home Minister is not exactly right. Though through multiple orders, various courts including the Supreme Court have struck down the acquisition to an extent of 52 acres of land, out of the 165 acres allotted to society.   George’s wife’s plot was not cancelled by any court when they decided to surrender.  Suja George was neither a petitioner nor a respondent in any case filed with courts.   Same bank accounts?   A whistleblower who shared the documents of sale deed with The News Minute also has details to show that the demand drafts drawn in favour of the sub registrar towards stamp duty by Suja George for cancellation and Ismail Shariff for purchase, are from the same bank situated in Bengaluru’s Lavelle Road.   Questions George needs to answer   1. How was the site allotted to the wife in the first place, when George already owned a  plot? 2. Why was the site owned by Suja George not declared in the election affidavit 2008? 3. Why was the site surrendered by Suja George the very next day of the announcement of Assembly elections for 2013? 4. If the surrender was based on a court order regarding returning the lands to landlords, why did the family not surrender plot no 605 registered in the name of KJ George’s brother K J Kuruvilla? 5. How come the witnesses for two transactions are same? 6. Why were all the transactions made by Suja George and Ismail Shariff through cash and not through instruments?    First page of sale deed in 2004       First page of deed of cancellation         Witnesses who signed the cancellation deed for Suja George   Same witnesses sign Ismail Shariff's sale deed