‘They failed to abide by the principles of natural justice'

With the High Court quashing the FIR registered against the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, based on the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, and the permission accorded by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to prosecute him, spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party State unit Ayanur Manjunath has lambasted the Governor and the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde.

“The two have acted in an unfair and biased manner against Mr. Yeddyurappa,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.

It is unfortunate that being persons with rich experience in judiciary, they failed to abide by the principles of natural justice. With the intention to oust Mr. Yeddyurappa from power, Mr. Hegde indicted him in the report, and Mr. Bhardwaj gave assent to prosecute him in great haste, he stated.

Even before submitting the report on illegal mining to the Government, Mr. Hegde frequently discussed its content with the media. Mr. Manjunath described Mr. Hegde as a publicity-monger, and invited him to join active politics. Instead of relying on facts, the report was prepared on the basis of assumptions. It was a procedural lapse that the accused was not heard before his indictment in the report.

Commenting on High Court's observation that the image of a person holding the Constitutional post cannot be tarnished on the grounds of suspicion, he said that, based on the verdict, the framework for the commissions which conduct probe into irregular practices in future should be drawn. The court has opined that being a quasi-judicial body, the Lokayukta had exceeded its brief. Mr. Manjunath opined that, the observations of the court were a criticism against the style of functioning of Mr. Hegde as Lokayukta.

Mr. Bhardwaj's assent to prosecute Mr. Yeddyurappa based on the report was politically-motivated. Mr. Bhardwaj should owe the moral responsibility and tender resignation to his post, he demanded. On reinstating Mr. Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister, he said that, party central leaders would take a decision in this regard.