HC quashes all FIRs against former CM Yeddyurappa in land denotification cases
In a relief to former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday quashed 15 FIRs filed against the senior BJP leader for alleged illegal denotification of lands based on a CAG report.
“All the FIRs against Yeddyurappa stand quashed,” Justice Rathnakala said in her order. The order comes as yet another breather for Yeddyurappa, close on the heels of the High Court recently quashing former Governor H R Bhardwaj’s sanction for prosecuting him when he was Chief Minister and also the Lokayukta court striking down four FIRs against him for alleged illegal land denotification.
The FIRs were registered following a complaint filed by one Jayakumar Hiremath based on CAG report in 2012 on denotification of land by government and allotment of sites by Bangalore Development Authority. The complaint was filed with the Lokayukta by Hiremath in 2014. During the hearing, Yeddyurappa’s counsel C V Nagesh had submitted that the Lokayukta police, who are investigating the illegal land notification cases against Yeddyurappa, does not enjoy the authority to file FIRs just on the basis of CAG report, which is the property of the legislature. “The Lokayukta police does not have any right to register FIRs based on CAG report because it is the property of the legislature,” Nagesh had contended.
Moreover, the legislature also had not discussed the CAG report implicating Yeddyurappa for allegedly notifying certain lands and not arrived at any decision whether to investigate the allegations or not, Nagesh had submitted. “The legislature has not taken up the matter for discussion and as a result haven’t even arrived at any decision to initiate investigation into the allegations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). On this ground, the Lokayukta police cannot register FIRs,” he had submitted.
Further, Nagesh had said that as per Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, the mere issuing of order to denotify land is not an act of offence, and moreover, the Yeddyurappa government had withdrawn the order later.
Also, the laws say that a competent authority, including a person of stature of a minister or a Chief Minister is the competent authority to issue land denotification orders, Nagesh had argued.
Karnataka government had approached the Supreme Court in the matter, to which the apex court had asked the High Court to ‘expeditiously’ decide pleas relating to registration of FIRs.
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