Yeddyurappa, Ministers rush to Delhi

The tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party Government in the State and Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has taken a new turn with the latter reported to be seriously considering a request by two advocates to prosecute the Chief Minister.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, in turn, rushed to New Delhi for holding consultations with party bosses on the ways to counter such a move.

Amid all his preoccupations during the day, which included a Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister, along with Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar, Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya, Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai and the State's Special Representative in New Delhi, V. Dhananjay Kumar, left for New Delhi. Discussions were held with Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

The two advocates have also sought approval for prosecuting Minister for Home and Transport R. Ashok.

We are in the [national] capital for discussions with the top leaders on the moves being made by the Governor. We have to tackle the issue politically and legally, and are evolving a strategy, sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu.

The issue has assumed importance in the light of the Governor writing to Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and obtaining all the relevant files relating to the denotification of acquired land.

‘Many angles'

Meanwhile, the Governor, with reference to the request for sanction (in the nature of permission) of prosecution said, “It is under consideration. There are so many angles. It is a very ticklish issue. It is a very difficult thing. There are very many documents I have to study.”

The Chief Minister has been accused of illegally denotifying land belonging to the Bangalore Development Authority. The Governor had earlier written to the Chief Minister seeking all details based on the complaints made over to him by the Congress and the Janata Dal (S), and the Chief Minister provided replies on issues, including the charge of illegal mining by the Reddy brothers of Bellary.

Several precedents

There are several precedents for a case of this nature wherein the sanction of the Governor has been sought, and the Supreme Court has upheld such sanction. The classic case is that of the then Governor of Tamil Nadu M. Channa Reddy granting approval to prosecute the then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in 1995-96 based on a request made by the former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy. It was also around the same time that Governor of Bihar A.R. Kidwai granted approval to prosecute the then Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad and others in the fodder scam case based on a request made to the Raj Bhavan by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

BJP move

It is another matter that a section of the BJP leadership is also planning to approach President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram seeking a change of Governor in Karnataka. The BJP has charged that the Governor is “an agent” of the Congress and that the Raj Bhavan is being used by the Opposition parties to promote their larger political interests.