On July 18, 2012, social activist TJ Abraham had filed a complaint with the court stating that while constructing the NICE Road, huge tracts of land has been grabbed illegally. The land belonged to poor people and farmers and has been purchased for lesser price than the market value.
NICE for its project has occupied 20,193 acres land in total, in which it illegally encroached around 5,972 acres, Abraham had filed in his complaint, along with documents, to the court.
Abraham in his complaint also alleged irregularities by former chief minister N Dharam Singh, NICE managing director Ashok Kheny, Bharat Forge CMD Baba Kalyani, ICICI chairman Narayan Vaghul, 57 IAS officers, former advocate general Ashok Haranahally, sitting High Court judge HS Kempanna, former governor of Massachusetts state in US (who was a part of a consortium) William Weld, Congress leader Siddaramaiah, former ministers D K Shivakumar, RV Deshpande and PWD minister C M Udasi.
The BMIC controversy originated in 1995, when HD Deve Gowda was the state chief minister. An MoU was entered into between the state government and four-member consortium comprising Ashok Kheny, William Weld, Richard Hangan (both from US) and Baba Kalyani, for the construction of a road of international standards between Bangalore and Mysore and subsequently a framework agreement was entered into.
As per this agreement, the consortium was ready to invest `522 crore for the said project of about `1,500 crore while the remaining amount was to be raised through loans.
However, Abraham in his complaint had claimed that the consortium at that point of time was not able to pay the initial deposit of `10 crore to KIADB, for the proposed acquisition of land for the project.
“At this stage Kheny (A4) along with Baba Kalyani (A3) manipulated to allegedly cheat the government and get an order of lease of `10 per acre of government land (1,913 acres), which was acquired and an amount of `19,130 was paid to KIADB. The said land was however immediately mortgaged with ICICI Bank for a loan of `150 crore.”
Out of this `150 crore, Kheny made a first deposit of `10 crore in 2003. By then, the acquisition of lands notified had gone up to over 4,500 acres in Bangalore alone. Out of the 4,500 acres, 1,913 acres was government land and the rest belonged to farmers.
KIADB which acquired the private land for the project, transferred the same to NICE (Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise) through sale deeds, Abraham had submitted.
“Kheny therefore allegedly got 4,500 acres of land transferred in the name of his company without investing a single rupee from his pocket”, he charged. For the entire lands belonging to farmers which were notified in 1997, the KIADB is paying a compensation of ` 6 lakh per acre per annum as per the market rate that existed in 1997, whereas NICE is today selling the same land `3.5 crore per acre.
TJ Abraham happy
“My fight against corruption has now took me to the first stage of victory. The court order has brought me happiness and also encouraged me to fight further,” an elated TJ Abraham told DNA after the court issued the order.