Tehelka exposé lands high and mighty in trouble


Opposition parties want tainted judge Padmaraj removed from land scam probe; chastened JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy vows to scrap G category if voted to power

By Imran Khan

Mixed fortunes JD(S) supremo Kumaraswamy (left) and former Karnataka HC judge Padmaraj
Mixed fortunes JD(S) supremo Kumaraswamy (left) and former Karnataka HC judge Padmaraj
Photo: S Radha Krishna

TEHELKA’S EXPOSÉ of the Karnataka land scam was a kick in the gut for two lakh applicants who were waiting for land allotments in Bengaluru. They were aghast when they found out that even after waiting for more than 10 years, the prime sites in the city had been allotted by successive chief ministers to their party MLAs, ministers and family members, instead of the deserving.

TEHELKA had shown that right from 1989 till this year, chief ministers, cutting across party lines, had allotted prime residential plots to all and sundry. It was a favour bestowed exclusively by the chief minister under the discretionary quota. In some cases, the allotment was so brazen that cooks and maids were allotted plots meant for “people in the public arena”.

The exposé drew a massive response. It was one of the scams where it was evident that corruption knows neither party nor ideology. All major political parties were involved in dirty deals. Like the old Hindi saying goes, “Is hamam mein sab nange hain.”

Opposition parties, who until then were baying for Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s blood for allotting G category sites to his son, sister and family members, were caught off-guard. Initially, some Congress members said our report was biased and false. But later, when TEHELKA’s story, also aired by Headlines Today, systematically revealed the scam details, along with affidavits filed before the Election Commission, they changed their tune.

Shivajinagar MLA Roshan Baig remarked that the expose has shown that nobody is an angel in today’s politics. He even said, “If I am proved guilty, the law of the land will take its due course. Because I am not above the law.”

Former chief minister and JD(S) supremo HD Kumaraswamy, who has been leading the tirade against Yeddyurappa, claimed that he allotted G category sites to legislators because they had a right to it. However, later talking to a television channel, he promised to scrap the provision if he is voted to power.

Since TEHELKA had also named several journalists who have profited from the chief minister’s discretionary quota, it has come to our knowledge that a prominent newsmagazine has terminated the contract of its Bengaluru bureau correspondent.

‘If I am proved guilty, the law of the land will take its due course,’ says MLA Baig

TEHELKA also highlighted that the judiciary was not far behind when it comes to corruption. Former High Court judge B Padmaraj was to head the commission set up by the state government to probe the land scam. However, his name was listed, along with 84 others, in the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Cooperative Society scam.

Following our expose, opposition parties have asked for the commission to be scrapped and to let the Lokayukta probe the land scam instead.

Several civil society groups and lawyers have approached TEHELKA for the documents to file a PIL in the High Court.

Only time will tell whether this feudal discretionary quota will be scrapped or will it remain in the hands of a few to reap political gains.


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