Hyderabad: Grossly compromising on the interests of the state and failing in their duty to protect government land parcels, revenue and municipal authorities have given up their decades-long legal fight over a prime piece of land located in the twin cities, estimated to be worth over Rs 1,500 crore, by granting the final layout right on it to a cooperative housing society, Deccan Chronicle has learnt.
Following a “request” made by a senior state government official, through a recent memo 976/Assn.III(1)/2019, GHMC commissioner Lokesh Kumar sanctioned a layout for 32 acres in Survey No 327 paiki of Shaikpet village in favour of S.N. Mutually Aided Cooperative Housing Society (popularly known as Sakkubainagar).
The GHMC commissioner's sanction came after its standing counsel submitted in the Telangana High Court that “according to the Municipal Corporation, Sy No. 327/paiki does not exist.”
Documentary evidence available with Deccan Chronicle revealed that different government agencies had taken a consistent stand for decades that Survey No. 327 paiki was a non-existent and fictitious survey number and that the only survey number available in the records — 327 — was government land. This view had been upheld by the judiciary at different points.
Incidentally, several cases filed by the state government claiming ownership of the land are still pending in the Telangana High Court and a “status quo” order has been in vogue in relation to this land parcel.
Inquiries by DC revealed that the Junior Civil Judge of the City Civil Court found discrepancies in the records submitted by the SN Society in an injunction suit and categorically said the land belonged to the government. The society filed the first appeal before the Additional Chief Judge, who upheld the Junior Civil Judge’s order. The society filed a second appeal in the High Court, which is still pending.
In another case on the same land, the society obtained an order from a single judge of the High Court to not dispossess them from the land but the government filed a writ appeal before the bench challenging the single judge’s orders. That case is also pending.
Meanwhile, the Additional Advocate General recommended to the government to initiate a suit for declaration of title in favour of the government and Hyderabad district revenue authorities actively pursued the case. The senior official who lobbied for the layout sanction referred to High Court orders in his memo apparently to justify his action but conveniently ignored that the court had made an observation in the same order that the state government may follow due process — initiate a title suit for ownership — to take possession.
Sources said the Hyderabad district authorities had succeeded in getting the state government to issue orders entrusting the title suitcase to the Advocate General, who had prepared a draft plaint and sent it to the Hyderabad district collector who, in turn, sent it to the Special Chief Secretary, Revenue, for his approval.
Several reminders were sent to Special CS, Revenue, in the last two years, to approve the AG’s plea and pursue the case further in the High Court. Yet, the recommendation for sanctioning the layout was sent to the GHMC.
What is intriguing is that one D. K. Narayana Rao, a retired Osmania University employee, applied to obtain for information pertaining to the layout under the Right to Information Act (RTI) but the GHMC information officers categorically asserted in their reply that “it was a 20-year-old record and was not found in the available layout records.”
Within days of the officials saying had no records of the land parcel, the GHMC commissioner cleared the same file in favour of SN Society.
“When Hyderabad district authorities came to know that the society had applied for layout clearance, the collector wrote to the GHMC to not sanction any layout as the state government was fighting for the prime property,” sources said, adding that this correspondence too was ignored and layout approval given to the society.