Bangalore: A housing co-operative created in Karnataka by the employees of defence public sector unit BEML, whose top management is currently under the CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in the purchase of Tatra trucks, has been accused of allotting as many as 63 residential sites in violation of housing co-operative rules in 10 housing colonies under its purview.
In a complaint to the registrar of co-operative societies, some former employees of BEML have accused the management of the housing co-operative of allotting plots to 39 members without applications and 24 outsiders or non-members in its housing colonies.
In a letter written to Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, the president of the National Confederation of Ex-employees Association of PSUs, S N Ashok, has linked some of these out-of-turn allotments as payoffs to muzzle questioning of the Tatra deal.
Seeking an inquiry by the Corps of Detectives in Karnataka, Ashok has estimated that property worth Rs 80 crore has been illegally given away to non-employees by the BEML Employees Co-operative Society Ltd.
Apart from allotting properties to persons not connected directly with BEML, the co-operative is accused of allotting land to employees who had not completed a mandatory five-year term with the company, to members of the board and to on-deputation employees.
K S Periyaswamy, an ex-employee of BEML, has alleged that close relatives and friends of T K A Nair, an adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are among the recipients of sites meant for the BEML employees. The out-of-turn allotments has resulted in several genuine employees not being allotted properties in BEML colonies, Periya-swamy has stated.
The ex-employee of BEML has accused chairman of BEML V R S Natarajan of influencing the management of the BEML Employees Co-operative to make out-of-turn allotments. Natarajan himself has been accused of availing two properties in violation of housing co-operative bye-laws.
Preethi Prabha, a relative of Nair who had been allocated site number 14 measuring 2,400 square feet in a BEML housing colony in the Uttarahalli region of Bangalore in December 2008 had returned her site in 2010 after complaints were filed with the PM, the official of the ex-employees’ confederation said.
There may be many more people connected to top persons in the establishment in the list of illegal allottees of sites in BEML housing colonies, Ashok said. “Every time there was a visiting delegation from the Central government to BEML in recent years, be it an SC/ST commission or any other body the visitors were given lavish gifts, including gold biscuits,’’ Periyaswamy claimed.
Hundreds of housing co-operatives in Bangalore have over the years been plagued by similar allegations of out-of-turn allotments and violations of bye-laws by managements.
The Bangalore Development Authority which provides the land to housing co-operatives and validates the allotments and their legality rarely intervenes in out-of-turn allotments. Among the most controversial has been the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Co-operative Society where the allotment of properties to judges has in the past been called into question. The issue was resolved after a ruling said judges were also eligible.
A case filed against irregularities in housing co-operatives across Bangalore is currently pending before the Karnataka High Court.
No illegal allotments, says Nair
New Delhi: Denying allegations of any ‘wrongdoing’ in the allotment of plots by the Housing Co-operative Society of BEML, Prime Minister’s adviser T K A Nair on Sunday claimed in a statement that “no irregularity or illegality” was involved in it “to the best of my knowledge”.
Nair’s statement came in the wake of media reports suggesting that two plots were allotted to his niece and a friend in Bangalore in an “irregular” manner.
Nair said he had sought “all the relevant facts” in this matter even as he dismissed as “absolutely baseless” any linkage to the Tatra truck deal. “My attention has been drawn to media reports about the alleged irregular allotment of residential plots of the Housing Co-operative Society of BEML to my relatives and family friends. To the best of my knowledge no irregularity or illegality was involved in the allotments,” Nair said.
“I have requested the PMO to obtain all the relevant facts of this matter through the Department of Defence Production,” he said.
The Hindu in its report from Bangalore on Sunday reported that the plots were allotted to Nair’s niece Preethi Prabha and family friend Uma Devi Nambiar at “throwaway prices” in BEML society in South Bangalore in 2008.
It further said the allotments were made at a time when complaints about the role of BEML chairman and managing director V R S Natarajan in controversial Tatra truck deal were pending with the Prime Minister’s Office besides the Central Vigilance Commission and Ministry of Defence. Responding to this, Nair said, “The insinuation linking these allotments with the Tatra deal is absolutely baseless.”