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Palace Property sold for Rs 6,000 cr?

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Wodeyar has sold prime land in Palace Grounds to a city-based developer. Many high profile realtors were interested in the deal. But in the end leading developer Dayanand Pai struck the deal. It is disputed land but already been sold for Rs6,000 crore.

In the biggest land deal that Bengaluru has seen so far, some 250 acres of prime land in the heart of the city in Palace Grounds, has been sold to a leading city-based developer Dayanand Pai. The state government and the scion of the Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar are shadow-boxing in the Supreme Court over rights to the property. The deal has been brokered by a godman, who is close to both the politicians and the maharaja. A team of chartered accountants drafted the sale agreement that will be executed after the court case is resolved.

Highly placed sources said the Maharaja had received Rs 1,000 crore as advance and the money has been deposited in the Bank of Mauritius in an escrow account. "Mr Wodeyar is earning close to a crore as interest on the advance money. He will receive the balance after the legal hur dles are cleared. Many high profile realtors were interested in the deal but in the end Dayanand Pai struck the deal as he was confident of getting the papers cleared. Of the 250 acres belonging to the Wodeyar family, 50 per cent is for outright sale and the remaining land will be developed on a joint venture basis by Mr Wode yar and the buyer. The plans include developing an IT Park, setting up malls and multiplexes", sources said.

A city-based BJP Cabinet rank minister has offered to resolve the issue. "In 1998, Mr Wodeyar had filed an application to conduct events at the Palace Ground which was turned down by the then state government. Following this, he moved the court and got a stay order on the Bangalore Acquisition and Transfer Act which was moved by the state government in 1997. The minister is working on dropping the case by the government. Another possibility being worked out is to grant the land in lieu of some other property which is also contested by the state and Mr Wodeyar. The high profile minister has resolved many such cases in the past. Looking at his track record, things look positive for the Wodeyars", sources added.

Princesses Meenakshi Devi, Kamakshi Devi, Indirakshi Devi, Vishalakshi Devi and the late Gayatri Devi, have about 28 acres of land each apart from the major chunk of land that belongs to Mr Wodeyar.

A member (GS) extracted the above article from somewhere, and posted the Hasiru Usiru y-group, which led to a spate of interesting responses, listed below:

If true, this an absolute scandal. Successive governments have fought in the courts to preserve this as a green lung for the city. Now if this government is going to connive and hand this on a platter to builders, I think it's time for this government to go.

To throw some light on the legal position as per my understanding (caveat - I am not a lawyer, but I got this from a discussion with a reliable one)

- GoK attempted to acquire this property from Wodeyar many years back for a amount that was considerably below market value.
- Wodeyar ofcourse went to court and it lies with the Supreme Court, for many years now.

The decision that the court has to make is whether the state can acquire property for public purpose without paying full compensation - i.e. below market value or whether that violates the constitution.

Apparently during the land reforms era, some legislation was passed that permitted the state to do so. This is what is being challenged by the petitioner (Wodeyar). Now it so happens that the currently binding ruling was made by 11 judge bench . So the ruling can be overturned only by a larger bench. Hence this case has to be heard by a 13 judge bench. Constituting such a large bench is the prerogative of the Chief Justice and in practice happens rarely. Hence the case lies and status quo continues.

How can Dayanand Pai and co get around this - if they have this minister who is going to facilitate the deal (for a few hundred crores no doubt), GoK can simply withdraw the original notification. Wodeyar is then free to do as he wishes with his property. Wonderful, isn't it!

If the govt does actually try some under-hand stuff and we keep quiet about it, we deserve to get screwed, now and for ever. I think we need to make it clear that governments can fall for stuff like this.

Btw, can you please share the source of this news article. There might be scope for a contempt of court petition here as the Supreme Court has ordered status quo.

Our constitution provides unlimited powers to governments when it comes to land acquisition. .. powers they routinely use when it comes to organizations like KIADB acquiring land from poor farmers. There is the ninth schedule which might be able to place laws passed for this purpose outside Judicial Review. There is really no impediment to going ahead with acquisition, but for the fact that no government dares to challenge the wealthy.

we definitely need to do something about this. Maybe for started file an RTI application, asking what is the status of the case and whether there ar any proposals to make this a lung space? any idea which department this has to be filed to?

Palace grounds should be preserved and nurtured as a lung space. We cannot let it go out of the public hands.

I think the time has come for a public donation campaign from thr people of Bangalore to collect 6000 crore and pay off the Maharaja and bring this property into the public domain as a park.The last great park of Bangalore was Cubbon Park which was created in the mid 19th century!!!All it requires is 60 lakh people to contribute Rs 100 each!!!

Muralidhar Rao


Nitinjhanwar's picture

Possible Solution.

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There are a few points to consider:

1.0 Nobody will take a risk of taking up the land without being 200% sure of his facts.

2.0 The eleven bench judge, judgement is for the take over of the land by Government on the lease deed of the old Law. The new law is that of "Free land title" recently passed in Rajasthan. SB had posted a crosslink and for details one can go to

My point is that maybe this new law (Already enforced in Karnataka-I think,as the Rajasthan law is based on some states existing law) may have a clause where the government has to give the market price.

So the government is surely going to back down from acquiring it as it will have to shell out 6,000 crores-The value is compared to bids also.

In fact the amount of the interest on the Eshcrow account will be used to get the "Clear Title"

What we as ordinary citizens can at best do-if this is the case-convince the Developer to make available part of the land free of cost to the Public.Maintained by the Public not the government as a convenant (Rider).




narayan82's picture

We need Green Laws

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When you can make money, greenery is always going to take the back seat. So, we need laws to protect it.

We need laws to protect large chunks of land (land over 5 acres) I think the SC or the HC can make laws that do not allow a builder to develop more than 20% of the land. 80% must be used for greenery purposes. If he wants to start a Forest and charge entrance he can do so.

This is the only way the city can retain some beauty, some pure air and have some control over the water and electricity consumption.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
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