Former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa was on Tuesday granted conditional bail by the High Court in a land scam case, paving the way for his release from jail.
Justice B V Pinto allowed the bail application of Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was arrested on October 15, on the condition that he furnishes a bond for Rs. five lakh and does not attempt to tamper with evidence.
The bail granted to Mr. Yeddyurappa in the third private complaint for alleged irregularities in de-notifying government lands favouring his family members, comes five days after he secured similar relief on the second complaint relating to similar charges.
The judge also enlarged on bail former Minister S N Krishnaiah Setty, one of the accused along with Mr. Yeddyurappa in the third private complaint filed in the Lokayukta court by advocates Sirajin Basha and K N Balaraj.
The Lokayukta Special Court had rejected the bail applications of Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Setty on October 15 and sent them to judicial custody.
Pronouncing the orders on the pleas of Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Setty, Justice Pinto observed that the lower court has not taken into consideration whether the documents submitted by the complainants were verified and subjected to scrutiny.
The complainant in his seven-page sworn statement recorded before the lower court has not averred that the documents furnished by him are “true”. Under these circumstances, the documents should not have been taken into consideration, the judge observed.
“Therefore, there is no impediment in granting bail to the accused”, Justice Pinto said while allowing the bail applications.
Justice Pinto said since some more complaints were pending before the lower court, “I do not want to express my opinion at this stage.”
Three more private complaints filed by Basha are still pending before the Lokayukta court. While sworn statements have been recorded in the fourth and fifth complaints, the process is yet to begin on the first complaint.
Justice Pinto observed that nowhere has the complainant stated that the contents of documents furnished by him were “true” or produced any witnesses.
“Under these circumstances, mere reading of the sworn statement does not disclose guilt of offences. The counsel for the petitioner has stated that de-notification of government lands are permissible under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act. For this no fault can be made against the accused. And the offences under this act are not punishable”, the judge said.
The Karnataka Land Use Restriction Act, under which an offence was sought to be made against Setty, for securing conversion of agricultural land into non-agricultural use was not also punishable offence under the law, Justice Pinto said while rejecting the contention of the complainants that offences have been committed by the accused.
Both the accused neither have no antecedents of crime nor any case was pending against them or booked in any other case, the judge said.
The judge also observed that the sworn statements by complainants do not disclose any offence made out under various provisions of IPC and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Soon after landing in jail, Mr. Yeddyurappa had complained of illness and was moved to two hospitals.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, credited with installing the BJP’s first ever government in the South, had stepped down as Chief Minister after being directed by the central leadership following his indictment in a Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Besides Mr. Yeddyurappa, his two sons, B Y Raghavendra, a Lok Sabha member and B Y Vijendra and son-in-law R.N. Sohan Kumar are among the other accused in cases relating to de-notification of land.The Hindu