Updated: July 13, 2021 7:15:29 am
Despite a special court for cases of elected representatives last week rejecting a plea to probe allegations of corruption against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, among eight others, the veteran leader may not be completely out of the woods so far as investigations into allegations of graft are concerned.
For one, while rejecting a private complaint by an activist, T J Abraham, for investigation of alleged corruption and money laundering by Yediyurappa and eight others, on the grounds that a sanction for investigating the CM was denied on June 23 by then Governor Vajubhai Vala, the special court on July 8 indicated that there is some substance in the complaint that merits an investigation. The court said the complaint was being rejected on account of denial of a sanction for probe by Vala.
With Vala, who rejected the sanction to prosecute Yediyurappa on June 23, now replaced by former Union minister Thawarchand Gehlot as Governor, there is apprehension in the Yediyurappa camp of a fresh proposal for prosecuting the CM being sent to the new Governor on grounds that more material has emerged to warrant an investigation.
Besides, opposition Congress on Sunday brought forth another allegation. Addressing the media in New Delhi, Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that appointment of a chairman of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) in December 2019 was done allegedly on payment of a bribe amounting to Rs 9.5 crore to people close to Yediyurappa.
The allegation was made on the basis of former KSPCB chairman Sudhindra Rao’s claims to a private television channel — the recording was aired by Power TV channel last week. “The latest in the series of allegations is by a qualified senior engineer who has suffered at the hands of relatives of (the) CM,” Gundu Rao said.
Sources in the Karnataka government said that based on allegations about bribery in the appointment, an activist has written to the Chief Justice of India and the Governor, seeking an investigation. “It is a matter of concern for the CM, as allegations are being levelled from many quarters. There seems to be an effort to put him in an untenable position,” a source in the government said.
Rejecting the complaint by activist Abraham on July 8, the special court had observed, “No doubt there are some material to refer the complaint for investigation under Sec. 156 (3) of CrPC. But before proceeding to refer the complaint for investigation…this court has to examine the law laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court with regard to the requirement of sanction.”
Abraham’s complaint was based on allegations of bribery and money laundering that appeared in the media against Yediyurappa and others last year over clearances given for implementation of a housing project by a private firm — Ramalingam Construction Company Limited — and alleged promises of awarding other contracts to the firm by people close to the CM.
The accusations relate to alleged bribes amounting to over Rs 12 crore for contracts — including Rs 5 crore allegedly received last year by companies linked to a grandson of the CM from multiple Kolkata shell companies. Besides Yediyurappa, the private complaint named a state minister, an IAS officer, and several of his close relatives.
While Yediyurappa has over the last many months managed to checkmate his rivals in BJP, who are said to be in favour of replacing him as CM, on account of his age — Yediyurappa is 78 among others, the latest deadline put out by rivals in the party for his exit as CM is between August 15 and the Dasara festival in October.
Some of the old cases against BSY
* On July 3, the special court for elected representatives rejected a closure report — filed by Karnataka Lokayukta — into allegations of corruption over land deals dating back to Yediyurappa’s tenure as deputy CM in 2006.
* 90th additional city civil and sessions judge Shridhar Gopalakrishna Bhat, one of the special judges, rejected a `B’ report for closure of probe against Yediyurappa in a private complaint filed in 2013. Karnataka HC had ordered a probe into the case in December 2020.
* In January this year, HC refused to interfere with a corruption case registered against Yediyurappa in 2015 on the basis of a complaint by an activist, Jayakumar Hiremath — the CM is accused of releasing government-acquired land to family members of former CM H D Kumaraswamy in 2010.
* In January, HC allowed a plea for restoration of a corruption complaint against Yediyurappa and state mining minister Murugesh Nirani for allegedly reneging on a commitment to grant 26 acres to a private investor in 2011.Yediyurappa has obtained stay orders from Supreme Court in two of these cases.