The Supreme Court on Monday stayed trial proceedings against Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa in an alleged corruption case relating to de-notifying 26 acres of land acquired for a government housing project in Bengaluru during his previous term as chief minister in 2011.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde stayed the January 5,2021 order passed by Karnataka high court restoring the criminal case against Yediyurappa and two others. Earlier, the SC had stayed their arrest while taking up Yediyurappa’s appeal against the high court order.
On Monday, senior advocate KV Vishwanathan, appearing for the Karnataka CM, said that despite stay of arrest, the trial was proceeding against him and that needs to be stayed.
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The bench, also comprising justices AS Bopanna and V Ramsubramanian, agreed to grant stay as it is examining the legal questions raised in Yediyurappa’s appeal.
The allegation was made against Yeddyurappa by public spirited persons led by A Alam Pasha, alleging that during his tenure as CM between 2008-11, he denotified 26 acres land acquired by the government for construction of houses for low income and middle income families. This project was part of an upcoming IT park project at Devanahalli Industrial Park in Bengaluru Rural district.
A Bengaluru court had ordered investigation by State Lokayukta in May 2012 on Pasha’s complaint. In June 2013, Yediyurappa, along with former industries minister Murugesh Nirani and two others, was framed for alleged forgery and provisions under Prevention of Corruption Act.
He took the matter to Karnataka high court which set aside the criminal case against the accused in October 2013 citing lack of sanction to prosecute Yediyurappa. This led to dismissal of case by the trial judge on August 26, 2016.
Pasha later challenged this order, resulting in the order of January 5 this year. The high court held in its order that since Yediyurappa had demitted office in 2011, taking sanction was not necessary. Yediyurappa had challenged this finding of the high court, claiming fresh sanction will be necessary to proceed further.