Karnataka

ACB has not found any incriminating material against Yeddyurappa, counsel tells court

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‘Preliminary probe was like a blind man’s search for a non-existing black cat in a dark room’

The preliminary inquiry conducted against the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by the State’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was like “a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there”, his counsel argued before the High Court of Karnataka on Friday.

Senior counsel C.V. Nagesh, appearing for Mr. Yeddyurappa, claimed that the ACB sleuths had not found any incriminating material against the former Chief Minister despite searching files pertaining to land acquisition process for Dr. K. Shivarama Karanth Layout.

The report lacked basic ingredient or evidence required to constitute a criminal offence or an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act as it did not find any material to prima facie establish the allegation made in the complaint that Mr. Yeddyurappa had “obtained money” for directing the BDA not to include around 257 acres of land in the layout project. What the ACB in its preliminary inquiry had found was that some files, related to a particular piece of land, either did not contain note sheets or some sheets were missing from the files, Mr. Nagesh pointed out.

Based on these records, Mr. Nagesh said, the ACB came to an “erroneous” conclusion that a woman, whose whereabouts were “untraceable” and who “did not even own a land”, had approached the former Chief Minister seeking deletion of the piece of land from the acquisition process.

The ACB had not ascertained the fact that the woman did own the land had even approached the High Court seeking its deletion from acquisition, Mr. Nagesh said.

ACB counsel’s objection

Earlier, senior counsel Ravi Varma Kumar, representing the ACB, raised objection for the submissions made by Mr. Nagesh on Wednesday that the present government had ensured that 1,300 acres of lands, which were part of notified lands in the preliminary notification, had been excluded from the project. Mr. Kumar said Mr. Nagesh’s contentions were “totally false and an abuse of process of law”.

However, Mr. Nagesh wanted to know from Mr. Kumar that “whether it is the ACB’s contention that exclusion of 1,300 acres by the present government was false”.

Later, Mr. Nagesh submitted a memo along with documents, which showed that around 18 acres of land belonging to MLA Byrathi Basavaraj and others were excluded from the project in 2014 by the BDA on the government’s direction to re-examine process of acquisition of lands.

Though Mr. Kumar objected to the memo, Justice Aravind Kumar, who is hearing Mr. Yeddyurappa’s petitions against cases registered by the ACB, said the ACB could file a written objection.

Further hearing was adjourned till September 18.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:52:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/acb-has-not-found-any-incriminating-material-against-yeddyurappa-counsel-tells-court/article19694724.ece

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