The resort near Bengaluru, where Congress has kept 42 MLAs from Gujarat to prevent them from shifting loyalties to the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls next week, is facing a demand of Rs 982 crore as penalty to regularise 77 acres of land encroached by it.
Notably, the demand was made just two days before the MLAs checked in, by the Congress’ own government in Karnataka, says a report in The Indian Express.
“The state cabinet has decided to ask Eagleton resort to either pay the penalty or surrender the land to the government. The decision was taken on the basis of directions by the Supreme Court. The land has been valued at market rates,” Karnataka Law Minister T B Jayachandra was quoted by The Indian Express as saying after a Cabinet meeting on July 27.
The decision taken by the Congress government on the basis of a Supreme Court order is a change of stance, which the previous BJP government had decided in 2012 to hand over the 77 acres to the resort for a regularisation fee of Rs 82.69 crore.
The Eagleton Golf Resort, one of the earliest world-class golf resorts in India, was started by Andhra Pradesh businessman Meda Ashok Kumar in 2000. After his death in 2013, it is being run by his two sons Meda Kiran Kumar and Meda Chethan.
The resort began with 100 pr cent tax exemptions under a tourism policy and later began a hotspot for top executives of Indian and foreign companies living in Bengaluru.
With the passage of time, Eagletown has now turned into a destination for outings by a variety of groups including IT employees, senior citizens, and also local politicians.
However, this is not the first time when the resort has been used to “protect” MLAs. In 2006-07, the then JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy had stashed away some of his party MLAs at the resort, following a move by a group to shirt their loyalty to the BJP after breaking away from a Congress-JD(S) coalition.
On Sunday, Congress paraded its Gujarat MLAs before the media in Bengaluru in an effort to quell speculation of dissension in the party ranks and accused the BJP of attempting to “threaten” and “buy” them ahead of Rajya Sabha polls, to be held on August 8.