Supreme Court refuses to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in : Karnataka tussle

The Supreme Court today refused to stay BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as Karnataka Chief Minister after a rare pre-dawn hearing which saw the Congress-JD (S) combine making a last-ditch attempt to stall the saffron party’s surge in the southern state.

The apex court, which commenced the hearing at 2.11 AM and ended at 5.28 AM, however made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation in the state would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.

A special bench comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan directed the Centre to place before it two communications, sent by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vajubhai Vala in which he had staked claim to form the government, saying their perusal was necessary to decide the case.

The top court also issued notices to Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa seeking their replies on the plea filed by Congress-JD (S) combine and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.

“This Court is not passing any order staying the oath taking ceremony of B S Yeddyurappa. In case, he is given oath in the meantime, that shall be subject to further orders of this court and final outcome of the writ petition,” the bench said.

While senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Congress-JD (S) combine, persisted with his arguments that the swearing-in ceremony should be stayed or deferred, the bench said, “we are not staying the oath taking ceremony”.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing three BJP MLAs Govind M Karjol, C M Udasi and Basavaraj Bommai, opposed the arguments to defer or stay the swearing-in ceremony, which was scheduled yesterday for today morning.

“We do not know what transpired in the meeting between the BJP leader (Yeddyurappa) and the Governor. I do not think B S Yeddyurappa is served or represented here. The whole thing is in a grey area and in a realm of speculation,” Venugopal said.

Rohatgi also questioned the manner in which the petition was filed in the midnight and said, “Heavens will not fall if somebody is sworn-in. This is not a matter of life or death or as if someone is going to be hanged”.

He said that constitutional obligation of the Governor was to invite a party to form a new government and his action could always be judicially reviewed and the court may order for restoration of status-quo ante also as was done in the case of Arunachal Pradesh.

“Courts should not stop a constitutional functionary (Governor) from discharging his constitutional duty. In this country, action will be amenable but office of the Governor cannot be injuncted,” Rohatgi said.

At the outset, Singhvi referred to the number of seats won by the BJP, Congress and JD (S) and said the Congress-JD (S) combine has the majority in the house with 117 MLAs while the BJP had only 104 seats which was below the majority mark of 112 at present.

He also questioned the Governor’s decision to give 15 days time to Yeddyurppa to prove majority in the house and claimed that this might lead to “horse trading” and “poaching” of MLAs.

Singhvi said that they were not sure how much time Yeddyurppa himself had sought from the Governor to prove the majority but as per their information, the BJP leader had sought seven days time.

He urged the court to defer the swearing-in, scheduled to be held at 9.30 AM today, till 4.30 PM and said the Centre or BJP should be asked to place before the bench the letters sent by Yeddyurppa to the Governor.

However, the Attorney General told the bench, “We really do not know what was the basis of which the Governor invited him (Yeddyurppa)”.

He said that swearing-in should not be deferred or stayed as it was for a constitutional office and no purpose would be served by stopping it since it was “purely a reversable situation”.

“Let this matter be heard. Let floor test take place. No irreversible damage will be done,” Venugopal said.

“Here, there are three major parties. BJP is the single largest party, Congress is second and JD (S) is third. Now, the Congress-JD (S) combine outweigh the BJP. Then, in this situation, on what basis he (Yeddyurppa) has staked claim to form the government? We do not have those letters. It’s only on surmises. The arithmetic is such that defies on what basis it was done,” the bench observed.

To this, Venugopal raised a doubt on the authenticity of the signatures of MLAs submitted by Congress-JD (S) combine leader H D Kumaraswamy and said, “They may have given signed letter which may not be genuine”.

Singhvi, while contending that “humongous things are happening in terms of money”, expressed gratitude that three judges of the apex court were hearing the matter at 2 AM.

“If a Governor passes an order (inviting Yeddyurppa to form government) at 9.30 PM and the oath taking ceremony is at 9.30 AM, I have no option but to make your night black. I am extremely grateful that three judges of the Supreme Court are sitting in the court at 2 AM to hear the matter. It is a victory of democracy irrespective of what is the outcome. The democracy has won,” he told the bench.

In the May 12 polls, BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 members, while Congress secured 78, the JD(S) 37 and others three.

 

Yeddyurappa and sons appear before CBI Court

Yeddyurappa the Former Karnataka Chief Minister and his sons Lok Sabha member B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar and former minister Krishnaiah Setty appeared before CBI court in connection with the case of alleged kickback in illegal mining.

Along with Yeddyurappa, his sons – Lok Sabha member B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar and former minister Krishnaiah Setty appeared before Principal Judge D A Venkat Sudarshan, who adjourned the case till May 15.

On January 29, the court had directed Yeddyurappa and other accused to appear before it without fail. Special Public Prosecutor Sudarshan had earlier opposed the exemption applications filed by Yeddyurappa and sought time to clarify and furnish copies of certain statements sought by the accused.

On December 10, the court had granted bail to all the 13 accused while imposing certain conditions, including directing them to furnish a personal bond of Rs two lakh each and surety of like sum.

CBI had filed a charge sheet in October last year against the accused, including senior vice-president of a Bellary- based private steel company and five Bellary based firms,besides a Shimoga based Trust run by the family of Yeddyurappa for alleged abuse of official position and corruption

SC refuses to cancel Yeddyurappa’s anticipatory bail

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by the state High Court in a corruption case relating to a mining lease.

A bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla dismissed the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the anticipatory bail granted by the High Court.

“You want this man to be inside? What for?” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Mohan Parasaran appearing for the investigating agency.

The Supreme Court brushed aside Mr. Parasaran’s plea that Mr. Yeddyurappa’s bail should be cancelled as he was “not cooperating” with the CBI in the investigations.

“If he is not cooperating then go and seek cancellation of his bail,” the bench told the ASG.

The court also said that it cannot interfere lightly with the grant of anticipatory bail as the same can be done only on the gravity of the case and the possibility of the accused jumping the bail.

Mr. Parasaran submitted that the findings of the High Court, while granting anticipatory bail to Mr. Yeddyurappa, were not correct as it prima facie gave an impression that the charges against him were baseless and that there was no linkage between the alleged fraudulent transactions relating to grant of lease and funds transferred to him and his family’s account while he was the Chief Minister.

“Even if we will assume there is a linkage you go and investigate, prosecute him, file a charge sheet and submit an application for a recall of the bail,” the bench said.

However, the Supreme Court said the investigating agency shall not be influenced in its probe in any manner by the observations made by the state High Court.

Source: PTI

High Court relief for Yeddyurappa in illegal mining case

In a big relief to state BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa, Karnataka high court on Wednesday quashed an FIR against him in an illegal mining case based on the Lokayukta report that had caused his exit as chief minister.

A division bench comprising justices Bhakstavatsala and Govindaraju passed the order allowing an application filed by Yeddyurappa challenging the Lokayukta police FIR and also governor HR Bhardwaj’s action directing Lokayukta to initiate criminal proceedings against him in August last. Yeddyurappa’s contention that proceedings were launched against him without giving him an opportunity to explain was upheld by the court.

The verdict comes a major morale booster to Yeddyurappa, who had quit the chief minister’s post in the wake of his indictment by Lokayukta report on illegal mining submitted on July 27 by the then anti-corruption ombudsman Santosh Hegde.

BJP central leadership had forced Yeddyurappa to quit on July 31 last in the wake of the Lokayukta findings.

The report had cited receipt of a Rs 10 crore donation from South West Mining Company to the Prerana Trust owned and managed by Yeddyurpapa’s family and another Rs 20 crore paid for purchase of 1.02 acres in Rachenahalli by the mining firm. Hegde in his report had observed that these payments were made to Prerana Trust in anticipation of getting some favours by the mining company, a charge Yeddyurappa had rejected.

Sandeep Patil, counsel for Yeddyurappa, welcomed the order and said it was a major victory for him as he had quit chief ministership on the basis of this report.

 

 

Yeddyurappa can be questioned in corruption cases: Court

In a major setback to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka High Court Thursday allowed police to question him and his kin on corruption charges and illegal land deal cases.

Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana cancelled the stay he had ordered on the trial court proceedings in the five cases filed against Yeddyurappa, his two sons, son-in-law and others.

The court ruling spells further trouble for Yeddyurappa, who is abroad at present, with the Lokayukta also naming him as amongst those involved in illegal mining in the state.

The judge had granted the stay in March on a petition by Yeddyurappa’s son-in-law R. Sohan Kumar challenging the trial court ordering police to probe five complaints against the chief minister, his kin and others.

The five complaints were filed in January by two Bangalore advocates Sirajin Bhasha and K.N. Balaraj after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj granted them permission to file criminal cases against Yeddyurappa and others on charges of corruption and illegal land deals.

Besides Yeddyurappa, the advocates have named his two sons, B.Y. Raghavendra and B.Y. Vijayendra, son-in-law Sohan Kumar and several others in their complaints.

Raghavendra is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member

Yeddyurappa land grab: Supreme Court asks high court to decide

The Supreme Court Friday rejected a petition challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order staying criminal proceedings against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and family in an alleged land grab case, but asked the lower court to take up the matter again.

The apex court bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice T.S. Thakur asked the petitioner, advocate Sirajin Basha, to move the high court and directed the high court to decide the matter in six weeks.

Yeddyurappa and his family members were accused of engaging in land grabbing, following which Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj gave permission to initiate proceedings against them.

Two advocates, including Basha, then moved a special court seeking proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act. But these proceedings were stayed by the high court when a member of Yeddyurappa’s family challenged it. Following this, Basha had moved the Supreme Court.

High court stays proceedings against Yeddyurappa

In a major relief to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the state high court Friday stayed further proceedings in a lower court on corruption and illegal land deals cases against him.

The high court has already stayed a police probe, ordered by the lower court, into one complaint of illegal land deal against Yeddyurappa.

Additional Civil and Sessions Judge C.B. Hipparagi March 24 directed the police probe and was recording evidence in four other complaints against Yeddyurappa.

The five complaints of alleged corruption and illegal land deals were filed by two advocates in the last week of January after they were granted permission by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to launch criminal proceedings against Yeddyurappa.

Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana of the Karnataka High Court, who March 29 stayed the police probe, Friday directed that all proceedings by Hipparagi in the remaining four complaints also be stopped till further orders.

His direction came on a plea by Yeddyurappa’s son-in-law R. Sohan Kumar.

The five complaints, filed by advocates Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj, alleged that Yeddyurappa, his two sons, son-in-law and others have made money through illegal denotification (freeing from government control) of land by Yeddyurappa as the chief minister.

Justice Keshavanarayana also granted temporary relief to Home Minister R. Ashoka against whom also illegal land deal complaint has been filed in Hipparagi’s court.

The judge stayed proceedings till April 5.

Yeddyurappa faces police probe over land deal

A Bangalore court Thursday ordered a police probe into a private complaint against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa over a land deal. The investigation is to be completed by May 4.

The probe will be conducted by the police attached to the state Lokayukta (ombudsman), Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge C.B. Hipparagi ordered.

He is hearing five private complaints of corruption and illegal land deals against Yeddyurappa.

The complaints were filed by two advocates after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj granted them permission to prosecute the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first chief minister in south India over corruption and illegal land deal charges.

Supreme Court issues notice to Yeddyurappa

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and assembly Speaker KG Bopaiah on a petition by seven rebel legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party who were disqualified from the house for expressing their lack of confidence in the chief minister. An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph issued the notice after senior counsel Rohinton Nariman told the court that an important question of law was involved in the matter.

The petition by Gopala Krishana Belur and six others has challenged their disqualification by the speaker and the Karnataka High Court’s Oct 29 decision to uphold it.

The legislators attracted disqualification after they met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and expressed their lack of confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Taking cognizance of their action, Bopaiah disqualified them from the house.

Yeddyurappa made party in lawmakers’ disqualification case

The Karnataka High Court Monday rejected the plea of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa not to make him a party to a petition of five Independent lawmakers who have challenged their disqualification from the assembly.

A three-judge bench of Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice A.S. Bopanna ruled that the chief minister be made a party to the case and adjourned the hearing till Nov 28.

Yeddyurappa had contended that he had no role in the disqualification of the lawmakers and hence the issue was between them and the speaker of the assembly.

The chief minister ‘is not a party before the speaker’, Yeddyurappa’s counsel argued. Counsel told the court that the decision to disqualify lawmakers was based on the complaint of voters.

The five Independent lawmakers were disqualified Oct 10 by Speaker K.G. Bopaiah on the basis of the complaint by five voters, who said these legislators had betrayed their voters by rebelling against Yeddyurappa.

The five Independents along with 11 lawmakers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wrote to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Oct 6 they no longer had confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Bopaiah disqualified all the 16 lawmakers Oct 10, a day ahead of the trust vote sought by Yeddyurappa. The chief minister won a second trust vote Oct 14 as the first one on Oct 11 was termed by Bhardwaj to be not in order.

The disqualification of the 11 has been upheld by the high court.

The five Independents are Shivaraj S. Thangadagi, D. Sudhakar, Gulihatti D. Shekhar, Ventakaramanappa and P.M. Narendraswamy.

The three judges had Nov 2 issued notices to the five voters, the speaker and the chief minister to respond to the Independent lawmakers’ petition challenging their disqualification.