Bangalore, April 20, 2012: A Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court on Friday recommended a probe by an independent investigating agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into allegations of land denotifications against former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.
In what is likely to be a major setback to the former chief minister’s case for his reinstatement, the CEC also recommended probe into alleged donations received by trusts run by his family members from mining companies.
Now, the Supreme Court will consider the recommendations for appropriate orders. The CEC, appointed by the apex court favoured a probe by the CBI to unearth any exchange of favours in granting mining leases as well as donations received by trusts run by the former chief minister’s kin from corporate houses.
With the recommendation for the probe, Yeddyurappa’s sons, including BJP MP B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar, former minister S N Krishnaiah Setty, mining companies and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) officials may come under the scanner if the Supreme Court accepts the report.
A question mark may be cast on the other former chief ministers, too, as the CEC, after hearing the petition filed by Dharwad-based NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS), recommended that an independent agency such as the CBI probe into all denotifications of land acquired by the BDA since its inception to uncover any irregularities and procedural lapses.
It is not clear when the apex court will take up the CEC report for a decision although it will hear a petition challenging the Karnataka High Court order which had quashed the FIR registered by the Lokayukta police.
The recommendations of the CEC will have far-reaching implications on Karnataka politics as all parties were eagerly waiting for the report. Yeddyurappa has been demanding his reinstatement as chief minister.
If the central agency probe suggestion is not accepted, the decks will be cleared for Yeddyurappa to become the chief minister again. The BJP central leadership, too, waited for the report as they wanted to take a decision on giving a suitable post to Yeddyurappa or allowing current Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda to go ahead with the expansion of his Cabinet.
The 17-page report of the CEC made some serious observations while launching a scathing attack on the way land was denotified and huge sums were paid to the Prerana Trust, run by Yeddyurappa’s family, calling it a “windfall gain.” It pointed to the serious violations of the relevant acts and procedural lapses and prima facie misuse of office by the former chief minister and said they raised “grave issues relating to undue favour, ethics and morality.”
“A detailed investigation may be directed to be carried out in the matter by the independent investigation agency such as the CBI and to take follow up action,” the panel said.
It recommended a CBI probe into the Prerana Education Society receiving Rs 10 crore from the South West Mining Limited, a Jindal Group company; denotification of Rachenahalli land and its subsequent purchase by South West Mining Company from Yeddyurappa’s kin; and a Rs 6-crore payment made by Praveen Chandra a mining lease holder to Bhagat Homes Private Limited, Davalagiri Property Developers Private Limited.
To find out the link between the donations received by the trusts and companies of former chief minister’s kin under a quid pro quo (exchange of favours), the agency may be asked to go deep into the matter in a time-bound manner, said the CEC in its report submitted by its member secretary M K Jiwrajka.
It recommended a probe into all aspects of the deals, including the “massive illegalities and illegal mining which have been found to have taken place in Karnataka and the allegations made against the Jindal Group as being a recipient of large quantities of illegally mined material and undue favour being shown to them in respect of the mining lease of Mysore Minerals Limited.”