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In more trouble for former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, police Saturday began probing into a case of illegal land deal by him and housing minister V Somanna.

The probe is on the direction of the Lokayukta (ombudsman) special court judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao on a complaint by Ravikrishna Reddy, a techie, alleging that Yeddyurappa allotted state land measuring 23,892 square feet near Bangalore to an educational trust run by Somanna’s wife Shailaja in 2009.

Police attached to Lokayukta Saturday registered an FIR , which marks the formal beginning of the probe, against Yeddyurappa, Somanna and two others, a Lokayukta spokesperson told.

The probe is to find out the role of Somanna, Yeddyurappa and two others in freeing state-owned land from government control by flouting rules.

Ordering the probe Tuesday, Sudhindra Rao directed the police to submit a report on their findings Dec 26.

According to the complaint, the land under probe was acquired by the state-run Bangalore Development Authority in 1994 to form a residential layout near Bangalore University campus, about 15kms south of city centre.

Though BDA paid Rs.683,000 to its original owner Lingaiah in 1997 as compensation, he executed a sale deed on the sly in favour of Shailaja in 2004 for the same land by dividing it in plots totalling 23,892 sq ft.

“The following year (2005), Lingaiah applied for denotifying (freeing from BDA control) the same land for reclaiming it on the ground that the trust had constructed buildings on it without statutory clearances. The state denotification committee, however, rejected his claim saying the land belonged to BDA,” the complaint alleged.

In 2009, when Lingaiah applied again for freeing the land from BDA control, Yeddyurappa, in his capacity as chief minister with discretionary powers to de-notify government lands, cleared it in favour of the trust despite strong objections by the officials of the state urban development department.

Shailaja and Lingaiah are the other two accused in the complaint.

Somanna is the third BJP minister in the BJP facing a land scam probe.

Courts have already ordered similar enquiries against home minister R Ashoka and Industries Minister Murgesh Nirani for illegal land deals under Yeddyurappa’s tenure as BJP’s first chief minister in south India.

Yeddyurappa, who resigned July 31 after former ombudsman N. Santosh Hegde indicted him in the multi-crore mining scam in the state, is also facing five other private complaints filed by two city advocates (Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj) alleging similar irregularities in denotifying government lands after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj permitted his trial.

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