The Supreme Court has barred other courts from interfering with CBI probe

The accused in cases related to illegal extraction of iron ore and its export from Belekeri port, being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the direction of the Supreme Court, may not be able to get anticipatory bail unlike the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Mr. Yeddyurappa was granted anticipatory bail by the Karnataka High Court in the case relating to receipt of alleged kickbacks from mining firms.

Lawyers conversant with the case say that the reason for the possible rejection of anticipatory bail is because the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court, which, on September 7, ordered the CBI probe into the illegal extraction and export of ore, has directed the CBI to conduct custodial interrogation of the accused.

This means, according to a senior advocate, that there is no scope for granting anticipatory bail or regular bail by either the CBI Special Court or the Karnataka High Court. They have to approach the Supreme Court for anticipatory bail or regular bail, said the advocate who preferred anonymity.

Custodial interrogation takes place only when the accused are formally arrested and not when they appear for questioning in response to the notices issued to them by the investigating agencies, he explained.

Not only that, the Supreme Court has barred all authorities and courts from entertaining any challenge to the CBI investigation, he pointed out.

Another legal expert said that the Forest Bench might, on September 7, have borne in mind the order of the Karnataka High Court, which, on June 21, granted anticipatory bail to Mr. Yeddyurappa, his two sons and son-in-law in the corruption case, which was referred to the CBI by the Supreme Court in May.

The High Court granted anticipatory bail to Mr. Yeddyurappa and his kin while observing that “…just because different agency [CBI] is investigating the matter, it may not be proper to deny the relief [anticipatory bail]”, while asserting that Mr. Yeddyurappa and kin had the benefit of the two earlier orders of the High Court.

In its first order, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to them in a de-notification case that was investigated by Karnataka Lokayukta Police, and in the second, the High Court quashed Chapter 22 of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining that referred to receipt of alleged kickbacks in the form of donation by the trust owned by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s kin from two mining firms. Both these allegations form part of the CBI investigation as referred by the Supreme Court.

Pointing out similarities in these two cases referred to the CBI by the Supreme Court, the senior advocate pointed out that even in the present case [of illegal mining and export of ore], the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had filed the charge-sheet, and many of the accused were out on bail. Still, the Supreme Court allowed the CBI to carry out custodial interrogation besides barring other courts from entertaining pleas against the CBI probe, he added.

  • Supreme Court has directed the CBI to conduct custodial interrogation

  • ‘CBI Special Court or the High Court have no scope to grant bail’