FORMER KARNATAKA chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s acquittal on Wednesday by a CBI special court in a Rs 40 crore corruption and bribery case is considered to be a major relief for the Lingayat strongman as it was considered to be one of the strongest cases of corruption against him.
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The case originated in a July 2011 report of the Karnataka Lokayukta where Yeddyurappa was alleged to have received kickbacks for favoring private companies in mining deals. He was forced to resign as chief minister on July 31, 2011 by the BJP high command after the Lokayukta in its July 27, 2011 report on illegal mining recommended his prosecution.
Yeddyurappa, however, was granted temporary relief in March 2012 by the Karnataka High Court, which quashed the portion of the Lokayukta report indicting him and the sanction given for his prosecution by then Governor H R Bhardwaj. But the relief was shortlived as the matter was taken to the Supreme Court by the NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya for a CBI probe. In May 2012, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI probe.
In 2011, as many as nine corruption cases were filed against Yeddyurappa with regard to alleged illegal denotification of government land in favour of private parties. The former chief minister has been acquitted in all of these cases by the high court on various grounds, including the fact that the sanction granted for his prosecution by the then Governor was not in order.
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Five of these cases were recently filed again in the high court by the original petitioner — advocate Sirjin Basha — on the grounds that no sanction is now required to prosecute Yeddyurappa for corruption since he is not in a position of power at present.
Yeddyurappa also received some relief recently when a series of 14 corruption complaints filed against him before the Karnataka Lokayukta court — on the basis of a CAG report — was quashed by the high court on the grounds that CAG findings cannot be used to file corruption cases. The matter has now been taken in appeal to the Supreme Court.