SC hands Yeddyurappa mining probe to CBI

Court ordered CBI to conduct a fair and proper investigation against Yeddyurappa.

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: May 11, 2012 10:10:37 pm

The Supreme Court today ordered the CBI to conduct a “fair and proper” investigation against former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for “serious illegalities” and misuse of public office,which allowed his sons and a son-in-law to make windfall profits through land transactions with private mining companies.

“The CBI shall undertake investigation in a most fair,proper and unbiased manner uninfluenced by the stature of the persons and the political or corporate clout,involved in the present case,” a Green Bench of Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and Justices Aftab Aalam and Swatanter Kumar said.

The decision came on the basis of a report dated April 20,2012,filed by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee that found “prima facie evidence” against Yeddyurappa,and placed on record documents and evidence which point to commission of offences under both the Indian Penal Code and Land Acquisition Act.

Justifying an investigation by the CBI,the Bench said the various dealings “may be one composite transaction”,and it was therefore “imperative to direct a complete and comprehensive investigation by a single investigating agency”.

The court gave the CBI a free hand to examine and inspect the records of any connected matter pending before any investigating agency or court. Any pending investigation by any other agency shall not continue,the court said.

The investigation has been ordered into two findings in the CEC report.

One,that Yeddyurappa allegedly tweaked public policy to denotify acquisition proceedings of an agricultural land in Bangalore so that his two sons and son-in-law could sell it to M/s South West Mining Limited,a Jindal Group company,as prime residential property.

Two,that a donation of Rs 20 crore was received by Prerana Education Society,allegedly run by Yeddyurappa’s family,from M/s South West Mining Limited.

The CBI has three months to complete the probe and file a report in the court concerned,and place a copy in the Supreme Court. Till then,all proceedings in courts will stay frozen. The CEC’s April 20 report will be treated as “information to the investigating agency by the CBI”.

A Special Investigation Team led by an officer of at least the rank of additional director general or additional commissioner will carry out the probe.

Yeddyurappa had challenged the CEC’s findings,contending that it had exceeded its jurisdiction. He had argued that the CEC was an environment body,not an expert in criminal investigation.

He had also questioned the ambit of the Supreme Court to hear and decide on alleged illegalities pointed out in the CEC report. He had said that the allegations were sub judice in other competent courts,and that transferring the probe to the CBI would seriously prejudice his interests.

To this,Justice Swatanter Kumar,who authored the order,said the Supreme Court is exercising “a very wide jurisdiction in the national interest,to ensure that there is no further degradation of the environment or damage to the forests and so that illegal mining and exports are stopped”.

“There has been a complete failure of the State machinery in relation to controlling and protecting the environment,forests and minerals from being illegally mined and exploited. Wherever and whenever the State fails to perform its duties,the Court shall step in to ensure that Rule of Law prevails over the abuse of process of law,” the order said.

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