'Lokayukta court can take cognisance of charges against him and others in land scams'
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa suffered a setback, with the Karnataka High Court on Thursday upholding the Special Lokayukta Court's order to take cognisance of charges against him and others in alleged land scams and allowing the Lokayukta police to inquire into them.
This comes a day after a leaked Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicted Mr. Yeddyurappa.
However, the High Court said the Lokayukta police could not arrest the persons against whom allegations were made without a warrant from the magistrate.
Reading out the operational portions of the 86-page verdict in the packed court hall, Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana held that the petitioners, including R.N. Sohan Kumar, son-in-law of Mr. Yeddyurappa, had no locus standi to question the action initiated by the special court at this stage. He termed the petitions “immature.”
On March 24, the special court directed the Lokayukta police to conduct an inquiry based on the private complaint by Sirajin Basha. However, the inquiry could not proceed as the High Court stayed that order on March 29.
Meanwhile, Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde said the mining report would be formally released in the coming week.
He said the leak should not distract the State government from acting on the report, in which Mr. Yeddyurappa, as well as the former Chief Minister, H.D Kumaraswamy, stands accused of corruption, along with Bellary's Reddy brothers and a string of political figures across parties.
“How can they [the State government] reject the report based on the leak,” Mr. Hegde asked. “The report is a voluminous study that has thousands of supporting documents. And that hasn't been leaked.”
He told journalists that he did not expect much from the political dispensation in the State or even the Opposition parties, given that their leaders also figured on the list of accused. “The matter is also before the Supreme Court. The contents of this report could be used as material evidence in that case.”
Reacting to the leak, the Opposition parties have demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister. Mr. Kumaraswamy, who is Janata Dal (Secular) president, said he would resign from the Lok Sabha if the charges were proved.