Bangalore: In Karnataka, allegations of a land scam executed by politicians, middlemen and officials of the state’s Waqf Board have been presented in a new report that has been shared with the chief minister V Sadananda Gowda, who heads the BJP government. Here are five facts on this story:
1) What is the scam? In Karnataka, nearly half of the 54,000 acres that is in the custody of the Waqf board has been misused. Property worth an estimated Rs. 2 lakh crores has been illegally transferred to private institutions and individuals. The report says middlemen, politicians and Waqf board officials colluded to make this happen between 2001 and 2012.
2) What was the land meant for? The property donated to the Waqf board, a charitable trust, is meant to be used religious or charitable purposes -to run a free school or hospital. Waqf properties typically also house mosques, dargahs and graveyards. Property in the custody of the Waqf Board cannot be mortgaged or transferred without permission from its officials.
3) How was the alleged scam discovered? The BJP government had ordered an inquiry in November after media reports that politicians and Waqf Board officials were illegally selling land to individuals.
The head of the Karnataka Minorities Commission, Anwar Manipaddy, submitted a report to Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda yesterday.
4) What happens next? The report by the Chairman of the Minorities Commission will be tabled or shared in the Karnataka Assembly. The chief minister says he will study the report after the current assembly session concludes.
5) Who are the politicians named? The period covered by the report, 2001-2012, saw different governments in power in Karnataka – some led by parties that are now in the Opposition. However, the report allegedly faults only leaders from the Congress, which could damage its credibility.