The Karnataka high court on Friday stayed for four weeks the judicial probe into land scandals in the state as it is considering who has to conduct the investigation.
The stay was ordered on a petition of a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader whon has challenged the setting up of the judicial commission by Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa following charges that he had favoured his kin with prime land in and around Bangalore.
JD-S spokesperson YSV Datta has petitioned the high court that as the Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) had already begun investigations into charges against Yeddyurappa, there was no need for the judicial commission.
Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice AS Bopanna directed the judicial commission not to proceed with the probe for four weeks as government wanted three weeks' time to respond to Datta's contention.
The setting up of the judicial commission headed by retired Karnataka High Court judge B Pamdaraja had upset Lok Ayukta N. Santosh Hegde, a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
Datta as well as the main opposition Congress are opposing the judicial commission probe, contending that it had been set up by Yeddyurappa to avoid investigation by the Lok Ayukta into charges against him.
Land scandals have dominated public discourse in the state for the last three months after evidence emerged that Yeddyurappa had allotted a 4,000 sq ft residential plot in an upscale Bangalore area to his son and Lok Sahba member BY Raghavendra.
The JD-S also released documents claiming that the chief minister had favoured his younger son, daughter, son-in-law, sister, her daughter and son-in-law with prime residential or commercial land as well.
The controversy and the mounting demand for his resignation forced Yeddyurappa to make his kin surrender the land.
Defending that his predecessors had done worse, Yeddyurappa set up the Padamaraja Commission to probe residential and commercial land allotments by the chief ministers since 1995.