Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's attempt to regain power in the state suffered a severe jolt on Friday after the Supreme Court directed a CBI inquiry against him for allegedly granting undue favours to firms involved in illegal mining in lieu of donations to a charitable trust run by his relatives.
"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," said a special forest bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia. The court also stayed all proceedings related to the allegations pending before any other.
Accepting the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee’s (CEC) April 20 report recommending CBI probe against Yeddyurappa, the bench also comprising justice Aftab Alam and justice Swatanter Kumar directed the CBI to submit its report before the trial court of competent jurisdiction within three months. The report would also be given to the SC.
In its report, CEC had pointed to "undue favour" in purchase of land by close relatives of Yeddyuruppa for RS.40 lakh in 2006, which was subsequently sold to South West Mining Ltd, an alleged "front company of JSW Steels Ltd" in 2010 for Rs. 20 crore. The CEC had said a donation of Rs. 20 crore was received by Prerna Education Society, belonging to Yeddyurappa's kin, from South West Mining Ltd.
The report was given subsequent to the SC directions on a plea filed by an NGO accusing the Karnataka government of favouring private individuals and allowing "back-door entry into the mining activity" in eco-sensitive areas.
The bench said the CBI should treat the documents submitted by CEC. The agency can inspect records of cases connected with matter pending before any other investigating agency or court. Calling for an "uninfluenced" probe, the court ordered a special team to be constituted for the probe.