The Karnataka High Court on Friday stayed the investigation based on FIRs registered by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) against former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for allegedly abusing his position for pecuniary benefits in ordering deletion of lands identified for acquisition.
Allowing the ACB to continue the investigation would prejudice the constitutional right of Mr. Yeddyurappa, the court held, while pointing out that considerable delay caused by the ACB to register the FIR also caused prejudice to the accused.
Justice Aravind Kumar passed the interim order on two petitions filed by Mr. Yeddyurappa seeking a direction from the court to quash the FIRs. The FIRs were registered based on a complaint lodged by one D. Aiyappa.
The Court found lack of material, which indicates commission of cognizable offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act or the Indian Penal Code, both in the complaint and also in the preliminary enquiry conducted by the ACB for registration of the FIRs.
The Court first rejected the contention of the ACB that the Mr. Yeddyurappa's petitions are not maintainable.
Later, the Court held that the High Courts are not barred from staying the investigation in corruption cases while holding that the bar on court from staying proceedings in corruption cases applies only for post- cognisance stage in a corruption case and not for the stage prior to it.
The court also said that at this stage the instance of registration of second FIR against Mr. Yeddyurappa is not correct as contents of the latter does not make out “a separate and distinct” case, but has originated from the contents of the same complaint, based on which the first FIR was registered.