Bangalore, March 7 (IANS) In a morale booster to scam-hit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka high court Wednesday quashed the police probe in an illegal mining case that forced him to quit as chief minister.
Justices K. Bhaktavatsala and K. Govindaraju set aside the FIR (first information report) that marks the formal beginning of the police probe registered against Yeddyurappa.
The FIR came after then Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde recommended in July 2011 that Yeddyurappa should be tried for corruption for illegal mining.
Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s first chief minister in Karnataka, was forced to quit July 31 following the Lokayukta indictment.
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, accepting the Lokayukta report, directed the police attached to the ombudsman to launch criminal proceedings against the then chief minister.
The FIR was soon registered to begin the probe.
Yeddyurappa challenged the filing of the FIR and Bhardwaj’s decision on the ground that the Lokayukta had recommended action against him without giving an opportunity to present his case.
The high court accepted his contention and set aside the FIR, which comes as big relief to the BJP leader who faces nearly a dozen other cases of corruption and illegal land deals cases.
Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, had alleged that the Prerana Trust run by Yeddyurappa’s family had received a donation of Rs.10 crore from South West Mining Co, which also coughed up Rs.20 crore for the purchase of over an acre of land near Bangalore by the family.
Hegde held that these payments were in return for favours to the mining firm.