A civil court and hearings in the city of Bengaluru have granted bail to former Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader BS Yediyurappa in a corruption case over the alleged illegal granting of state-acquired land for an IT park to a private party when Yediyurappa was Deputy Chief Minister of State 2006-2007.
The court granted bail to Yediyurappa after the defenders of the veteran BJP leader argued there was no corruption in the alleged land definition case which was filed on the basis of a court complaint by activist Vasudev Reddy.
Yediyurappa was released on bail on Saturday with a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a similar guarantee. His lawyer argued that the former Prime Minister had not abused his position as a public servant for financial gain as the complainant claimed and that his work was within his administrative powers to make good faith decisions.
A special court in Bengaluru, dealing exclusively with criminal cases relating to elected representatives in Karnataka, has ordered the filing of a corruption criminal case against BS Yediyurappa in March of this year in relation to the definition of land.
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The case relates to the private land which was acquired by the state government for the construction of the IT park in Bengaluru when the BJP-JDS coalition was in power in the state during the period 2006-2007. Approximately 434 acres of illegally acquired land were allegedly identified and turned over to private parties for “unlawful gain” through a government notification dated July 21, 2006.
The corruption case was taken up by the Lokayukta Police in February 2015 on the basis of a private complaint lodged in court in 2013 by citizen Vasudev Reddy regarding the decision taken on government land in Bellandur district of Bengaluru. Karnataka Police to Lukayoka later filed a closing report in the matter on the grounds that there had been no illegal tipping to Yediyurappa to denote the land and that there was no material or evidence to file an indictment against the former Prime Minister.
In July 2021, the Special Court dismissed the police report on the grounds that the police had not conducted a proper investigation and that the provisions of the law had not been properly considered while making the allegation that there was no evidence of the illegal reward.
Ydurapa had applied to Karnataka High Court in 2019 on the grounds that a case against one of the other defendants in the case – former Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande of Congress – was overturned by the High Court in October. 9, 2015. The court refused to accept that Yediyurappa is accused in the same FIR as Deshpande. In an order issued on December 22, 2020, the Supreme Court questioned Lokayukta Police over their failure to conduct a five-year investigation into the case and ordered the agency to speed up the investigation.
“I find that there are separate and separate allegations against the petitioner ( Defendant #2) which state as follows:- The then Deputy Prime Minister Mr. B. S. Ydurapa also recklessly referred to the land, ignoring the fact that the possession had been taken, and that the land was for the pioneers business,” one judicial body of the Supreme Court said.
However, Lokayukta Police filed a closure report in the case on January 18, 2021. The closure was appealed on behalf of the original plaintiff Vasudev Reddy. The complainant argued that Yediyurappa deprived the state of high-value property while “enriching individuals without any public interest”.
The July 2021 order for a proper investigation by the Lokayukta Police into corruption allegations came just days before Yediyurappa announced his resignation as Prime Minister following pressure from within the BJP over a growing number of old corruption allegations that came back to haunt the BJP leader.