The Karnataka High Court on Thursday quashed a complaint filed by social activist T.J. Abraham as well as the probe ordered by the Special Lokayukta Court against 30 persons, including three former Chief Ministers, with regard to alleged irregularities in the execution of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

The High Court quashed the complaint because of the absence of documents that could have thrown new light on the allegations.

Also, the High Court said that when the matter [allegations that are made in the complaint] “is finally decided in writ jurisdiction it cannot be allowed to be reopened and re-agitated in subsequent criminal proceedings.”

Justice Anand Byrareddy delivered the verdict while allowing the petitions filed by project executing company – Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), its managing director Ashok Kheny, and others associated with the company. The petitioners had questioned the October 25, 2012 decision of the Special Court ordering an investigation by the Lokayukta Police against 30 accused persons, including the petitioners, three former Chief Ministers — H.D. Deve Gowda, S.M. Krishna and B.S. Yeddyurappa — and some bureaucrats.

However, after going through verdicts of the High Court and the Supreme Court on the earlier litigations related to the project, Justice Byrareddy said that ultimately the allegations made in the complaint do not make out a different case from those sought to be made out by the petitioners in the public interest litigation petitions earlier.

“The complaint, significantly, does not make a single reference to any of the matters that were agitated before the High Court and the Supreme Court,” observed Justice Byrareddy.

On Mr. Abraham’s claim that though project took shape in 1997 many controversial documents related to the project were available to the public only after enactment of RTI Act in 2005 and he discovered criminality of the accused only recently, Justice Byrareddy said this claim cannot be “readily accepted” as the complainant could not show that which particular documents would answer his allegations.

“…in the absence of particular documents which are said to throw new light on the cases, exposing alleged criminality of the concerned, the criminal court cannot be used as a medium to test the legality…There is no indication of which particular documents would answer to that category. Secondly, even if this circumstance [availability of new documents] could be a valid reason justifying the complaint, there is no explanation as to period of the complainant’s research”, the court observed.

“Exercise of the complainant borders an abuse of the process of court in approaching the criminal court as an alternative,” said Justice Reddy while pointing out that earlier verdicts of the High Court and the Supreme Court on this project “binds the public at large and bars any members of the public from coming forward before the court and raising any connected issues or an issue which had been raised or should have been raised on an earlier occasion.”

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