Yeddyurappa’s acquittal, CBI failure: Where’s evidence, asks court

On the charge of illegal donations, the court said there was no evidence that the funds were siphoned for purposes other than education by B S Yeddyurappa’s sons.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: October 27, 2016 9:13 am
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As a CBI special court on Wednesday acquitted former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, his two sons, son-in-law and nine others in a corruption case related to illegal mining in Bellary, here is a look at the charges, and the grounds on which the court ordered their acquittal.

charge: “B S Yeddyurappa obtained illegal gratification to the tune of Rs 40 crore to show favour to JSW Steel through his kin and also abused his official position to de-notify land which was notified for government acquisition.”

what court said: A request for donation to JSW Steel by Yeddyurappa’s sons on behalf of Prerana Educational and Social Trust run by them cannot be treated as “demand for and on behalf’’ of Yeddyurappa. “No evidence to prove accused No.2 to 4 (Yeddyurarappa’s sons) induced accused No.1 (Yeddyurappa) by exercise of personal influence, to show favour to accused No.8 (JSW), in exercise of official functions as a public servant.’’

Charge: As deputy CM, Yeddyurappa in 2006 denotified 1-acre land marked for government acquisition in favour of an associate, S N Krishnaiah Setty, who sold it to Yeddyurappa’s sons for Rs 20 lakh. Yeddyurappa’s sons got the land registered in their name with allegedly forged document. Thereafter they sold it for Rs 20 crore to affiliates of JSW Steel to cover up payment of bribe.

what court said: The plot was denotified in 2004 under then Congress CM S M Krishna, and subsequent Dharam Singh government cancelled the denotification order. It said CBI has failed to prove that the property was registered by the sons with a forged NOC — it found the document genuine. The court also ruled that the land’s sale was genuine since sale of similar properties in the region had fetched Rs 18 crore to Rs 28 crore during the period.

Charge: Despite earning over Rs 2 lakh per annum from non-agricultural sources, Yeddyurappa’s sons showed annual income at Rs 50,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively to enable them to purchase an agricultural plot.

what court said: Based on evidence presented, before 2005-06, when it was sold, the sons’ annual income from non-agricultural sources did not exceed Rs 2 lakh, making them eligible to buy it.

Charge: Agricultural land was illegally converted to commercial land using Yeddyurappa’s influence after he became CM in 2008.

what court said: “Prosecution failed to establish that conversion of the land was done by revenue officials either under force or pressure, or that conversion was done by accused No.1 (Yeddyurappa) by misusing his official position.”

Charge: JSW Steel donated Rs 20 crore through its affiliates to Prerana Educational and Social Trust, run by Yeddyurappa’s family in return for official favors.

what court said: JSW never agreed to increase premium for iron ore supplies by the state from 6 per cent to 50 per cent of market value of the iron ore fines. “When the alleged object of conspiracy was to give undue advantage to JSW by fixing premium at 50 per cent, JSW has been resisting increase in rate of premium,’’ the court said.

Decision to fix premium at 50 per cent instead of 60 per cent, as recommended by MML board, was not taken unilaterally by Yeddyurappa but in consultation with other officials. The court also said that the calculation of JSW owing MML Rs 879 crores in dues was based on a wrong premise. On donations, the court said there was no evidence that the funds were siphoned for purposes other than education by Yeddyurappa’s sons. The donations were made by JSW affiliates as part of CSR and cannot be considered quid pro quo, the court said.