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Yeddyurappa: is corruption party specific?

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Jan 22, 2011

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B. S. Yeddyurappa, is alleged to have been involved in illegal land deals which caused losses of Rs. 465.32 crore (2.6 milli-Rajas, on a scale of corruption where the Rs. 176,000 crores of losses due to the 2G spectrum scam is unity).

TOI reported the Governor of Karnataka State’s consent to prosecute the Chief Minister:

Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s alleged illegal acts and favouritism helped his family get pecuniary benefits of Rs 189.71 crore and caused the state exchequer a loss of Rs 465.32 crore, governor H R Bhardwaj said in his Jan[u]ary 21 order while granting sanction to prosecute the CM.

Bharadwaj cited 15 cases but gains in two have not been quantified. One refers to the allotment of a site to the chief minister’s son, B Y Raghavendra, which was later returned and another to a denotification favouring home minister R Ashoka. The cases refer to illegal denotification and other favours by the CM.

Two advocates, Sirajin Basha and K N Balaraj of the ‘Justice Lawyers’ forum had sought Yeddyurappa’s prosecution citing these 15 cases.

Jan 23, 2011

The Mangalorean reports:

Legal luminaries Soli Sorabjee and Ram Jethmalani, besides party’s legal eagles Arun Jaitley and Satyapal Jain, are looking into the possible loopholes in the Governor’s consent order besides weighing various legal options before the chief minister.

The chief minister’s camp is watching whether there would be any further complaints filed against him in the court. The sessions court on Monday had announced that it would hear the arguments for maintainability of the complaints from January 31.

The party central leadership on Sunday had advised Yeddyurappa not to challenge the Governor’s consent order apparently apprehensive of any adverse remarks being made by the higher judiciary.

Bhardwaj’s order granting sanction to two advocates to prosecute Yeddyurappa has parallels with the controversy that surfaced when Tamil Nadu Governor M Chenna Reddy gave his nod for the prosecution of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on corruption charges in 1995.

Jayalalithaa had challenged the order in the Tamil Nadu High Court stating that the Governor was acting on a private complaint by Janata party president Subramanian Swamy and there had been no preliminary inquiry by any investigative agency. The Madras High Court had then dismissed Jayalalitha petition, while the Supreme Court stayed the Governor order.

The party, BJP in this case, jumped to the chief minister’s defence. HT reported:

BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Saturday sought to legally pin down Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj’s sanctioning of CM Yeddyurappa’s prosecution, reiterating it was “politically motivated”. Party president Nitin Gadkari too accused the governor of political motivation, saying the CM’s land allotments to his kin were “immoral but not illegal”, He had told HT the same in a December interview.

Jaitley made three points in response to home minister P Chidambaram’s defence of the governor.

First: a sanction is required “only at the stage of taking cognizance of the offence (by the judge trying the case) and not at the stage of filing a complaint”. The argument: the governor had deliberately precipitated a crisis at a stage when the sanction was not even required so as to “create an adverse environment” for the CM.

Second: Jaitley wondered whether a governor could grant sanction to a private citizen to prosecute a CM without an investigative process or judicial proceeding finding the CM guilty, quoting Constitutional expert HM Seervai against such a proposition.

Third, Jaitley said the home minister and the Karnataka Lokayukta relied on a 2004 SC judgment to uphold the governor’s action, ignoring the SC observation that “though the governor can act independent of the decision of the council of ministers and act on his discretion, the issue of sanction has first to be considered by the council of ministers”.

Jan 24, 2011

The BJP called for a bandh and was in for some more trouble as a result. Deccan Herald reports:

The BJP had given a call for a bundh on Saturday following the governor’s sanction to prosecute the chief minister. However, Yeddyurappa, while interacting with journalists here on Monday, claimed the BJP never gave a call for bundh and the public, angered by the governor’s move, voluntarily observed the strike.

The high court, on Monday, admitted an interlocutory application (IA) on a writ petition seeking damage worth

Rs 5,000 crore for the bundh called by the BJP. Notices were issued to the respondents including Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa and the director general of police.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna directed the high court Registry to bunch all the cases related to the bundh, so that they could be taken up together.

That’s another 28 milli-Raja of losses.

Meanwhile, it didn’t escape anyone’s notice that the party had brought the parliament’s winter session to a halt on the issue of corruption in the UPA government, but was willing to condone possible wrongdoing by its own governments. An unconvincing damage control exercise was reported by IE:

The BJP is conducting an ‘in-house’ inquiry into the corruption charges against Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Informing this to press-persons here on Sunday, BJP National Spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the party had already started an internal inquiry and its findings and the party’s stand on the issue would be made public in a month.

He was replying to a question if the party was adopting double standard on corruption by allowing Yeddyurappa to continue as the CM despite serious charges against him. However, Javadekar refused to divulge the details of the inquiry and who was heading it.

Jan 25, 2011

The Hindu reports:

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has not given sanction for the prosecution of Home Minister R. Ashok for having been a party to the denotification of land acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority.

The order of the Governor does not mention the name of the Home Minister. The two advocates who sought the Governor’s permission to prosecute Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Ashok, apart from ten others, had specifically mentioned the names of the Chief Minister and the Home Minister together as being involved in cases of denotification of land, but the Governor, after scrutinising the documents and files placed before him, sanctioned only the prosecution of the Chief Minister.

For the Governor to sanction the prosecution of a member of the Council of Ministers, he has to refer the complaint to the Chief Minister and seek his views. In this case, the complaint was not referred to the Chief Minister. While a Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor, a Minister is appointed on the advice of the Chief Minister and, consequently, any action against a Minister has to be on the advice of the Chief Minister. However, the Governor is empowered to overrule the advice given by the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, TOI reports that the government is on overdrive to clear project proposals:

IT giant Wipro’s proposal to expand its activities in the aerospace engineering sector, Toyota Kirloskar’s in car manufacturing and fresh proposals from Mahindra Aerospace for setting up aerospace component manufacturing and US-based Tyco Electronics’ to manufacture connector cables were all cleared by the state high level clearance committee (SHLCC) headed by Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Taking time off from his political troubles, Yeddyurappa on Monday approved 55 projects with an investment of over Rs 38,966 crore, expected to create employment opportunities for 1.01 lakh persons. Of the approved projects, 24 are proposed to come up in Bangalore rural and urban districts, with an investment of Rs 10,576 crore.


3 Responses

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  1. […] on parliamentarians. Similarly, it attacks Congress governments on the issue of corruption, while condoning similar allegations of corruption in its own government in Karnataka. The inevitable conclusion is that all political parties are involved in massive levels of […]

  2. […] an FIR lodged in 2009 leads to an arrest in 2011 just weeks after the Karnataka Lokayukta’s report unseats the chief minister who inducted Janardhana Reddy into his ministry. This news report has a very dainty statement about […]

  3. […] to the theories of alleged quids-pro-quo between the brothers and the BJP. In the aftermath of the removal of Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. early in August last year, Janardhana Reddy was arrested by the CBI. At the end of […]

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