The Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for criminal trial of former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and his spouse for alleged misuse of official position in granting lease to a mining firm and allotment of 80 acres of land to a private cooperative society.
“You should face trial,” a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice PC Pant said while setting aside the state high court order that quashed the proceedings against the two pending before a special Lokayukta court. The HC order was challenged by the complainant in the case.
The bench rejected Kumaraswamy’s contention that the case was filed out of political vendetta. “Of course, you are a political person. You will say it...Just because you were Chief Minister it does not mean that you would not face the trial,” the bench said after the complainant’s lawyer Nikhil Majithia said the duo had abused their official position.
The complainant, advocate M Vinod Kumar, challenged the HC order of October 21, 2011 stating it could not have quashed the proceedings against the couple.
The allegations against the Janata Dal (Secular) leader among others is that he abused his official position in granting lease to a mining company for lifting of one lakh metric tonne of iron ore.
“The allegations against them ought to have been adjudicated in the trial,” the bench said while reversing the HC order. It, however, clarified that it had not expressed any opinion on the merit of the allegations and all the defences would be open to the accused.
The cases against Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita, then a JD(S) MLA, were related to renewal of mining lease to the Jantakal Mining Firm in alleged violation of norms and perceived irregularities in allotment of sites to Vishwabharathi Housing
Cooperative Society, which had made a quid pro quo site allotment to Anita, during Kumaraswamy’s tenure as Chief Minister in 2006.