In a setback to former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa,the Supreme Court today directed a CBI probe against him for allegedly granting undue favours to firms involved in illegal mining in lieu of donations to a charitable trust run by his kin.
A special forest Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia directed the probe agency to carry out the probe uninfluenced by the stature of the person and political clout and corporates involved in the case and file its report by August 3.
The Bench,also comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Swatanter Kumar,stayed all pending proceedings before all judicial forums in connection with the case.
The apex court said it has a constitutional duty to protect natural resources.
Raising grave concerns about the “ethics and morality” of the former Karnataka chief minister,the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) last month had recommended the apex court to order a CBI investigation against the BJP leader for misuse of public office to enable his close relatives make windfall profits in the illegal purchase and sale of public land to a private mining company.
A 17-page report filed by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) gave a step-by-step version of how Yeddyurappa,as deputy chief minister,tweaked public policy so that his two sons and son-in-law could buy land,notified for acquisition for residential purpose,cheap in 2006.
Four years later,this time Yeddyurappa being chief minister,the same land was de-notified in time for them to sell the property to M/s South West Mining Limited,a Jindal Group Company,and rake in a huge profit.
“The entire process of de-notification has been carried out by using earlier owners as the front and from whom the land has already been purchased by the close relatives of the then chief minister,” the CEC said.
“Senior officers of the state government have apparently preferred to remain as silent spectators and appear to have completely ignored public interest. This in all probability may not be the only case of such de-notification from acquisition for private gains by the powerful vested interests,” the panel report said. It has been placed on record before a Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia.
The CEC recommended that the CBI also probe a donation of Rs 10 crore received by Prerana Education Society from M/s South West Mining Limited.
The report is based on preliminary findings of the CEC on illegal mining in Karnataka. The panel was assigned to brief the SC on the scope of CBI investigation into serious illegalities allegedly committed by top politicians and major corporate groups,including the Jindals and the Adanis,in the state.
In 2004,a scheme for more residence space — a public purpose — called the ‘Arkavathi Layout’ was sanctioned by the state Cabinet. Of the 1.12 acre selected and notified for acquisition by the Bangalore Development Authority,an acre was carved out and sold to Yeddyurappa’s sons Vijayendra and Raghavendra along with R N Sohan Kumar,the politician’s son-in-law,for Rs 40 lakh.
The report said Yeddyurappa got the land de-notified when he became chief minister,clearing the deck for his three relatives to sell their property as prime real estate to South West for a total consideration of Rs 20 crore. The de-notification of the land,CEC said,was done unilaterally by the former CM,without waiting for the mandatory approval of the De-Notification Committee.