Mysuru: The Mysuru District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has come to the rescue of a site aspirant of Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) by directing the MUDA to re-allot a site and asking the authority to take action against former MUDA Secretary K.S. Shankar.
Twenty years ago, in 1998, 38-year-old H.R. Prasanna Kumar (now 58-years-old) had applied for a 30×40 site at Devanoor 3rd Stage, Mysuru, following a notification issued by MUDA. He also paid the initial deposit of Rs. 3,500.
At this time he was working at a private bank and later was transferred to Madikeri and thereafter to Karwar. During this time, the MUDA had sent him a letter dated 20.11.2002 demanding the payment of balance amount of Rs. 57,500 by ordinary post instead of registered post which is the norm.
Since Prasanna was transferred, he did not receive the letter and as it was an ordinary post and not a registered post he did not come to know of it.
But when he came to know of the letter, he rushed to the MUDA office to make the payment. However, MUDA by this time had cancelled his allotment and informed him that there was no provision for accepting outstanding payment.
Upset over the response, Prasanna filed an RTI application questioning the cancellation of the site and demanded documents pertaining to the allotment and its cancellation. The MUDA did not respond.
Frustrated, Prasanna sent a legal notice on 1.8.2017 to MUDA and even to this, MUDA did not respond.
Prasanna then obtained an Encumbrance Certificate of the site that was originally allotted to him and he was shocked to find one of the names to be of the then MUDA Secretary K.S. Shankar.
He then went on to realise that after his allotment was cancelled, the then MUDA Secretary K.S. Shankar had allotted the site to himself at the government-fixed rate of Rs. 61,000 and on the very same day resold the site for Rs. 1,40,000.
After this, that site was resold twice which was in violation of Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) regulation which states that a MUDA site cannot be sold before 10 years after its first allotment.
Without any alternative, Prasanna Kumar approached the Mysuru District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and sought directions to MUDA to accept the delayed payment and to allot him a 30×40 residential site.
The Forum, presided over by President H.M. Shivakumara Swamy and Member M.C. Devakumar, on May 18, 2018, ordered MUDA to allot a 30×40 site and execute a Sale Deed in his favour in any of MUDA’s existing layouts or in any layout to be formed, within six months.
The Forum also ordered that if MUDA fails to allot a site within six months, a penalty of Rs.200 per day must be paid to the complainant till the site is allotted.
The Forum also directed MUDA to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000 along with litigation expenses of Rs.2,000 within six months, failing which, this amount of Rs.52,000 shall carry an interest at 12 percent per annum from 13.10.2017 (the date of complaint) till the payment is made.
The Forum further stated that MUDA is at liberty to take action against its then Secretary K.S. Shankar by initiating proceedings both for misconduct and for recovery of penalty.
Prasanna Kumar was represented by Advocate V.R. Raghunathan who expressed his happiness that justice was delivered even if it was 20 years late. He informed that the Forum’s order has been submitted to MUDA.
Shankar or Shankarappa: Who is the real one?
When Star of Mysore reporter sneaked into the MUDA office this morning to check on MUDA Secretary K.S. Shankar, as mentioned in the case, he learnt that there was no officer by that name.
As per MUDA records, KAS officer Shankarappa was the MUDA Secretary from 2.9.1998 to 3.2.2000. He was a Tahsildar-grade officer and hailed from Tarikere village in Chikkamagalur District.
MUDA sources said that after serving as MUDA Secretary, Shankarappa was promoted as Assistant Commissioner of Kollegal. And 15 days before his retirement, he was trapped by Lokayukta. The officer is retired now and his whereabouts are unknown.
Now, who is K.S. Shankar? The Encumbrance Certificate (EC) of the site that was originally allotted to Prasanna Kumar bears the name of K.S. Shankar, Secretary, MUDA, Mysore. As per the complaint filed in the Consumer Forum, Shankar had allotted the site to himself for Rs. 61,000 on May 18, 2005 and sold it for Rs. 1,40,000 on the same day.
Does the MUDA Secretary have powers to allot site for himself? No, say MUDA officers. After a site is allotted, the file is cleared by MUDA Commissioner while the respective Zonal Officer signs the allotment letter and the same is handed over to beneficiary. The Secretary plays no role here as his role comes only initially when the file is put up.
In this case, K.S. Shankar remains mysterious as there was no officer (Secretary) bearing that name in MUDA since 1998 and the name of the Secretary as mentioned in MUDA records is Shankarappa. Are Shankarappa and K.S. Shankar the same person? Have the names been changed to cheat the site aspirant?