As Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa fights for political survival in Karnataka, new evidence of corruption and nepotism have emerged from a deal that allegedly saw his family members receiving prime property near Bangalore at inexplicably low prices.
Here's how. In October 2010, Mr Yeddyurappa denotified five acres of land near the Bangalore airport, intended to house the city's next IT hub. This land had been acquired cheaply by the government from a farmer, D Inneshappa. He demanded it be returned to him.
One month later, Mr Inneshappa sold three acres of the land to BG Channappa. After twenty days, Mr Channappa sold the same land to Davaligiri Property Developers Private Limited, which is owned by the Chief Minister's sons B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijendra. For Rs 2.65 crores, they acquired land worth Rs 65 crores. They then sold one acre of the same land at huge profits to a mining company.
Mr Yeddyurappa's sons are also directors of the company run by Mr Channappa.
The transaction was routed through other companies in an apparent bid to conceal that the Chief Minister's sons were getting a sweetheart deal. Mr Channappa seems to have served as a front.
This is not the only case where Mr Yeddyurappa has been accused of using his office to make land acquired by the government available to his family.
But this particular transaction was also noted in the report on illegal mining prepared by Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta or ombudsman of Karnataka. Mr Hegde's report indicts the Chief Minister and his family for inappropriate links with mining companies. A part of this land, Mr Hegde finds, was sold by the Chief Minister's sons to South West Mining Company at 10 times the market price. The inference is that the company agreed to the sky-high prices in return for valuable mining leases from the Karnataka government.