Tracking Sarvajnanagar MLA K J George, who was also a minister

PROFILE OF K J GEORGE, SARVAJNA NAGAR MLA AND CANIDDATE FOR 2018 ELECTIONS

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Kelachandra Joseph George, hailing from Gonikoppa in Coorg district, is the third child of an agriculturist couple. He rose through the ranks as a member of Youth Congress and was known to be a protege of former Chief Minister Gundu Rao. He was first elected to the Karnataka Assembly in 1985 from erstwhile Bharatinagar constituency (which is now Sarvagna Nagar) and held the seat till 1994.

He lost the Bharatinagar seat in 1994 when he became part of the rebel faction against the Karnataka Congress led by Bangarappa. He came back to electoral politics in 2008 to win the newly created Sarvagna Nagar.

His first ministerial berth was in the Veerendra Patil Government from May 1990 to December 1990 with an independent charge of Food and civil Supplies and Transport. He then became Minister for Urban Development and Housing in the Bangrappa Government.

The PU-passed coffee planter and businessman owns a stake in the Kelachandra Group which has multiple business interests including real estate. The company on its website lists the Embassy Group as a partner. This partnership has made news in the recent times alluding to preferentially treatment over a government contract.

He is considered to be a close confidant of the Chief Minister, who reinstated him once charges against him were cleared in the investigation. His social media interactions on Twitter and Facebook are known to be prompt.

K J George is associated with these companies according to the data from Ministry of Corporate Affairs directory as on April 2018.

  1. GOLFLINK-EMBASSY BUSINESS PARK MANAGEMENT SERVICES LLP
  2. KELACHANDRA HOLDINGS LLP
  3. KUTTANAD RUBBER CO LTD
  4. GOLFLINKS PROPERTIES PRIVATE LIMITED
  5. G.V PROPERTIES PRIVATE LIMITED
  6. GOLFLINKS SOFTWARE PARK PRIVATE LIMITED
  7. WILDFLOWER ESTATE AND RESORTS PRIVATE LIMITED
  8. MAOJ INVESTMENTS PRIVATE LIMITED
  9. BOOK AND MARKS HOSPITALITY PRIVATE LIMITED
  10. GOLF LINK-EMBASSY BUSINESS PARK MANAGEMENT SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED
  11. D M ESTATES PRIVATE LIMITED

His family members are associated with more companies.

More info: Myneta profile for K J George

K J George in the Assembly

George was a minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet, and has held many portfolios such as Home Ministry and Bengaluru In-charge. He was a member of Committee on the Welfare of Backward Classes and Minorities.

December 16, 2014: When B Y Raghavendra, an MP from Shikaripura, raised the issue of rape numbers going up in 2013-14 and later, then-home minister George explained that the definition of ‘rape’ was amended to include many other varieties of sexual harassment, post-Nirbhaya case, which automatically drove up the numbers.

Similarly when Muddebihala MLA Appaji C S Nadagowda asked why POCSO cases have gone up, George explained that the age for POCSO victims was increased from 16 to 18 and definitions were changed, resulting in higher number of cases included under POCSO. He also assured the house that everything was in order in Police Department.

March 18, 2015: The session witnessed protests from the Opposition parties regarding the death of D K Ravi, an IAS officer who died an unnatural death. R. Ashok spoke about the death of D K Ravi and accused the government of planting stories in the media. George retaliated, by saying that it was BJP that was planting stories.The opposition demanded that the case be transferred to CBI. George rued that the Opposition wasn’t trusting the police of the state and the government.

June 30, 2015: K J George intervened on the government’s behalf during the discussion on farmer suicide, saying that the opposition wanted to politicise the issues, and did not want the problems to be solved.

July 10, 2015: George gave explanation on the action taken based on a sting operation by a TV channel on cricket betting in the state, and said that action had been taken on the police staff who supported betting. A case was also slapped on the media organisation that conducted the sting operation.

November 23, 2015: K J George, the Bengaluru Development Minister, explained the steps being taken to contain waste management in Bengaluru, in a discussion on garbage problem.

November 25, 2015: He participated in the argument on Tippu Sultan Jayanti festivities celebration controversy and communal riots in the state. He spoke on behalf of the government during the debate on women safety.

March 22, 2016: George took part in the exchange related to formation of Anti Corruption Bureau and stopping of taking public complaints in Lokayukta.

July 5, 2016: George, as Bengaluru Development Minister, faced the heat of the Opposition on the BDA land acquisition and compensation scam. Ultimately the Opposition walked out, not satisfied with the information George gave.

July 5, 2016: Vijayakumar enquired Bengaluru Development Minister about lack of accurate information with the government on collection of e-waste in the city, and asked details about the mechanism for collection of ewaste in Bengaluru. K J George, the minister, said KSPCB had identified 71 centres where e-waste from across the city can go.

February 7, 2017: George, as Bengaluru Development Minister, clarified to the house that no BBMP property that was pledged was sold during last four years.

March 28, 2017: K J George replied to Narayanaswamy, Hebbal MLA, that the government was figuring out how to solve the ownership problem of a part of BDA Layout in RMV Layout, as denotification would attract scam allegations.

He also clarified that BDA flat allotment process was on track and any erring official will be prosecuted. He clarified to a question, that Vishwabharathi layout was a private one and was taken over by the BDA after the court order, and whatever facilities possible will be developed by the BBMP, and permissions will be given as per law.

To a question asked by Vijayakumar, he said that he would take enough care to ensure that the Metro phase 2 project was on track and trees will be planted to compensate for the loss during construction.

June 6, 2017: George addressed the queries regarding Metro extension beyond Bengaluru, on Airport Road and Tumkur Road. He also explained the steps being undertaken to treat sewage in Bengaluru.

June 13, 2017: K J George explained how the EWS housing schemes work in Bengaluru, to a question asked by one of the MLAs.

Sureshkumar asked a question about status of Metro Rail Network expansion, rationale for ticket pricing and safety of Metro stations in Bengaluru. K J George, Bengaluru Development Minister, said the cost was high due to land acquisition and operational expenses, and explained the safety measures undertaken.

Jagadish Shettar brought to attention of the house the plight of BBMP contract workers. K J George explained the hurdles in regularising the services of the contract employees and assured action in due course.

K J George in the news

Citizen initiatives

November 7, 2015: In a bid to avert the garbage-crisis, KJ George confirmed that a Netherlands based company signed an MOU with the centre and state governments. This was to set up a waste-to-energy conversion plant in Bengaluru on a pilot basis.

While encouraging segregation at source, he confirmed the removal of the stay on garbage- tenders for 80 wards. Contractors now have to collect segregated waste according to the rules assigned to them – wet waste on alternate days and dry waste daily.

November 6, 2016: Addressing queries at an event by BBMP East Zone, minister KJ George listed out several initiatives undertaken. The projects are: the conversion of abandoned quarries to parks, improving the maintenance of tendersure roads, and 285 toilets to be constructed across the city through a public-private participation initiative.  

February 6, 2018: During a surprise visit to bellandur lake, George said the fires could be man-made. He alluded to this being a political strategy to destroy Silicon Valley’s image. Sewage Treatment Plants will be installed by 2020 to curb the situation, he added.

February 16, 2018: K J George requested the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for a separate fund dedicated to manage the disastrous Bellandur Lake. On his recommendation,  Rs 50 crore was allocated in the 2018-19 state budget.

Accusations

September 16, 2013: Private Secretary of K J George, N Shivashankar, was named in a chargesheet filed by the CID during an investigation of the Karnataka Public Service Commission ( KPSC) scam. He is among the 316 officers found to have links to the illegal recruitment of officers to various posts within the Karnataka administration from 1998, 1999 and 2004 batches.

January 9, 2014: K J George’s son Rana George’s application to the CM for the position of Wildlife Warden in Mysore is under consideration, but with much scrutiny. He does not meet the requirement of having an exceptional background in wildlife and ecology according to officials, says a report by Bangalore Mirror.

January 14, 2014: Home Minister’s son was accused of bailing his friends out of a tough situation with the High Grounds police station. His friends including Karan Virvani, son of the managing director of The Embassy Group, got into a physical fight with bouncers at a pub when instructed not to smoke in the non-smoking area.

April 12, 2014: Retired DCP V S D’Souza, a close aide of KJ George, has been appointed as the adviser to the police commissioner on a monthly stipend of Rs 50, 000. He will enjoy all the perks of an officer; staff, residence and a personal vehicle.

November 5, 2014: Embassy Golf Links ( EGL), a joint venture constructed by two major real-estate players–The Embassy Group and the Home Minister KJ George’s Kelachandra Group–was accused of encroaching 26,336 sq feet of defence land. The allegations were levelled by Brigadier S S Tinaikar, an estate officer of the army station headquarters in Karnataka.

January 8, 2015: Acting on an anonymous tip, the IT department conducted searches at Embassy Golf Links properties in Domlur, Manyata properties, and at his brother’s house on Cunningham road. Select senior employees who were aware of the Kelachandra Group’s transactions (stakeholder in Embassy Group), were suspiciously shown the door recently.

March 24, 2015:  Anti-corruption activist, T J Abraham, made a complaint at the Madiwala Police Station alleging the involvement of several MLAs in the murder of IAS officer D K Ravi. The complaint said they wanted to eliminate him out of fear of his investigations on land encroachments pointing to them. He named the Embassy Group as well (associated with minister K J George).

May 29, 2015: Wildflower Estate & Resorts, minister K J George’s company, was accused of involvement in an illegal transference of 3.23 acres of land to The Prestige Group. The land was acquired from Joy Ice creams to build a tech park in Whitefield.

October 9, 2015: A suo-moto notice was sent to Home Minister K J George for making a derogatory statement on the definition of gangrape. The National Commission of Women wanted an explanation of the comment on the assault of a BPO employee. He said, “how can you say gang-rape? Gangrape means four-five people.”

October 23, 2015: A winding-up petition was filed at the High Court by Fusion Properties Development against one of George’s businesses. The Mumbai-based company had invested 50 crores in Windflower Estate & Resorts to purchase land in Mysuru and Chennai.  The petition named George as one of the Company’s directors, and said that he failed to either transfer the land or refund the money despite several requests.

October 30, 2015: K J George was replaced by G Parameshwara as Home Minister due to his inaction in controlling the escalating law and order situation in the state. He was given the position of city minister, a position in demand from the public to end red tape-ism.

April 20, 2016: RTI activist Bheemappa Gundappa Gadad, collected information divulging the expenditure incurred on air-ticket for the purpose of official tours. K J George, as Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning, and as the former Minister of Home affairs, has reportedly spent Rs 7,94, 305 of taxpayers money to travel to foreign locations.

July 26, 2017: Minister George filed a criminal defamation case against Arnab Goswami and Times Now for falsely accusing him of murdering IAS Officer D K Ravi without proof.

October 27, 2017: The CBI’s Chennai office registered a case against K J George, and two IPS officers on allegedly abetting the suicide of Deputy Superintendent of Police, M K Ganapathi. In an interview with a TV channel Ganapathi had said that he was harassed by the accused and if anything happened to him, they should be held responsible.

When the case was transferred to CID, it was closed with the a B report, ruling out any foul play. After being forced to resign during the investigation, he then returned as development minister. Unhappy with the case’s closure, Ganapathi’s father moved the Supreme Court seeking to hand over the case back to CBI.  

September 16, 2017: BJP State President B S Yeddyurappa led an agitation at Maurya Circle to remove K J George from the cabinet. He was reacting to the charges made against him in the the alleged murder of Police Officer D K Ravi.

October 30, 2017: In an interview with the The Economic Times, George explained himself.  Ganapathi had allegedly told him about the then Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar suspending him or pocketing money in a theft case. But he could not help. George, thus, blamed BJP for the controversy.

March 22, 2018: K J George’s business partner, Jitu Virvani who heads  Embassy Group, opened up to Bangalore Mirror. He spoke about his association with the minister being a liability and a set back for business.

March 3, 2017: K J George denied the accusations of taking bribe over controversial Steel Flyover project. 

April 4, 2018: Anti-corruption Bureau receives a complaint against K J George, Mahendra Jain and others, for allegedly converting agriculture land worth Rs 150 crores into residential.

January 14, 2018: K J George was accused of transferring a woman police officer to save a close confidante of his

April 7, 2018: K J George inspected the development works done in Bengaluru, and said many works were taken up using the Rs 7,300 crores allocated in the budget. Rs 3,000 crores have been spent, he said.

How did George spend his LAD funds?

Every year, an MLA is given Rs 2 crores, to spend on developmental works in his constituency. He should allocate the funds for government, community and health infrastructure

☛ Click here for full data set of works done/ sanctioned under K. J. George’s MLA Local Area Development Funds.

K.J. George seems to have devoted a lot of money on schools, totalling upto Rs 524.68 lakhs.  Next in line is drinking water for which he spent Rs 252 lakh in five years. The pricing of water plants ranges from Rs 9 lakh to 10 lakh at various places. But it is not clear why the construction of one “pure drinking water plant” at Ward No.49, Sarvajnanagara, was priced at Rs 12.50 lakh and is duplicated. Together they tot upto Rs 25 lakh.

In the money spent on education, the list shows 10 collections of furniture that were bought for anganwadis. An almirah, two plastic chairs, a table and a rack, totally have been budgeted at Rs 0.47 lakh.

Read more about his spending in this list of data available here.

The category break up for all the five years looks like this:

Category

Money (lakhs)

Community

18.767

Disability

0.75

Drinking Water

237.2

Education

524.68

Health

45.96

Library

2.5

Religious

5

Roads

45

Toilets

13.56