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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Rs 2 lakh cr-scam hits Karnataka Wakf Board

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, March 26, 2012
First Published: 21:40 IST(26/3/2012) | Last Updated: 11:18 IST(27/3/2012)

The Karnataka State Minorities Commission has said in a report that 50% of the Wakf Board's property, assessed at Rs. 4 lakh crore, has been misappropriated by politicians and board members in collusion with the real estate mafia.

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The report has been submitted to CM Sadananda Gowda.

Rs 4 lakh crore translates into about 30% of the country's third-quarter GDP for 2011-12 and about 60% more than the annual sales of Reliance Industries Ltd, India's largest private sector company, in 2010-11.

Summarising the 7,500-page report, commission chairman Anwar Manippady said the report, which would be tabled in the legislative houses (legislative assembly and council) for action, contained the names of politicians who had engineered this.

The commission had requested Gowda, who holds the Wakf portfolio, to initiate action to retrieve the property and punish the wrong-doers.

Being the "richest organisation" in the state, the board has more than 54,000 acres of registered property, of which 40-50% (nearly Rs. 2 lakh crore) has been embezzled up so far, according to the report.

This rip-off was bigger than the 2G scam (which the comptroller and auditor general valued at Rs. 1.76 lakh crore), Manippady said.

The modus operandi is this. The board has property that is not listed with the sub-registrar's office. After getting general power of attorney and the no-objection certificate from the board, board members got the land converted into commercial property and sold it to realtors.

Wakf property is donated as charity by kings, other rulers and zamindars for the benefit of the poor of a religious denomination.

The scam stretched all over the state and was most deep in Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga and Bidar, Manippady said.

It came to light in November 2011, when some members of the commission visited Bidar on an inspection and received a complaint about illegal encroachment. Upon inquiry it transpired that large-scale encroachment and a disposal of around 3,786 acres had taken place in Bidar district alone, he told HT.

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