One more Karna Minister in Lokayukta net

Bangalore: Causing more embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Karnataka, a Lokayukta court today ordered a probe into a complaint against Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani that he allegedly denotified government land for pecuniary gain.

Admitting the complaint filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Lokayukta Court judge N K Sudhindra Rao directed the Superintendent of Lokayukta Police to investigate the charges against Nirani and file a report on November 16.

The complaint alleged Nirani along with eight others, including his family members, "misused his position as Industries Minister" and floated a number of non-existent companies and denotified Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board land in Devanahalli and Dobbaspet to them, causing over Rs 130 crore loss to the exchequer.

City-based entrepreneur Alam Pasha in his October 20 complaint prayed that the court take cognisance of the matter and order a thorough investigation. He also alleged Nirani had "misused" the forum of Global Investors` Meet held last year by the Karnataka Government for his "own personal advantage". He claimed that Nirani had "consolidated" land allotted to the said companies "run by men of his choice" and raised a loan of over Rs 500 crore without any authority.

Nirani is the second minister in the D V Sadananda Gowda cabinet to face trouble after Home Minister R Ashok against whom the Lokayukta court last week ordered a probe on a private complaint alleging illegal denotification of land.

Yeddyurappa, credited with leading the party to install its first ever government in the south, is already in trouble after the Lokayukta court remanded him to judicial custody in connection with a private complaint charing him with illegal denotification of government land for pecuniary gain.  The complainant filed photocopies of documents of Memorandum of Association (MoA) of the ten companies before the court which directed him to furnish all necessary documents and adjourned the case to November 16.

Earlier, the judge took the complainant to task for his inability to present the facts of the case properly and asked him to take the help of counsel. "If you cannot engage a lawyer, we will do it for you". Seeing the complainant fumbling with the facts, the judge rapped him for wasting judicial time and also sought to know whether he had gone through the Prevention of Corruption Act before filing the complainant. The court questioned the complainant on his background, seeking to know whether any criminal case had been registered against him, his motive and whether the complaint was "to seek publicity".