Under attack from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for sanctioning prosecution of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Saturday strongly defended his action saying a prima facie case was made out against the Chief Minister.
“A prima facie (case) is made out for according sanction for prosecution under section 19 (1) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973, after going through the substance of allegations and the supporting documents as well as the legal position,” he said.
As he came in the line of fire by the BJP which accused him of mala fide, Mr. Bhardwaj came out with a lengthy communiqué explaining his action, which has triggered a political storm.
The Governor said he had “examined legal issues such as whether the doctrine of aid and advice is attracted for giving the requisite sanction and whether the sanction can be given on the basis of a complaint and documents furnished in support of the allegation without investigation”. The communiqué said two advocates Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj from Bangalore, in their December 28 letter had requested sanction for prosecuting Mr. Yeddyurappa and Home Minister R. Ashoka in the appropriate court of law.
Along with their letter, the communiqué said, they had also submitted a copy of the proposed complaint and documentary evidence which runs into 1,625 pages.
It said the advocates stated that they had approached the Lokayukta Police in December last with written complaint but it was not taken on file and the investigating agency was not prepared to register a case.
The Lokayukta Police was not inclined to take up the complaint because the first accused is the Chief Minister and the Lokayukta Police were State government employees.
“Under these circumstances, they said they intend to move the Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge who is also the designated Special Judge for dealing with the cases under Prevention of Corruption Act,” it noted.
In the proposed complaint, there are 12 parties named as accused and number one and number nine are the Chief Minister and the Home Minister respectively.
The complainants narrated in detail a few instances that have come to their knowledge relating to criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, falsification of documents, receiving illegal gratification, securing pecuniary advantage and valuable things, amassing wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income.
The offences were punishable under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act besides Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act.
The complainants also included a statement showing the pecuniary gain allegedly received by the Chief Minister and his family members in respect of certain instances and the total pecuniary gain from them was mentioned as Rs. 371.24 crore, the communiqué stated.