Karnataka HC refused to quash corruption case against CM BS Yediyurappa

The court also came down heavily on the Lokayukta Police due to delay in investigation that has been pending since 2015


On December 22, the single bench of Justice John Michael Cunha (Karnataka High Court), refused to quash a criminal complaint registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, against Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who has been accused of de-notifying parcels of land and allotting it to entrepreneurs, during his tenure as the Deputy Chief Minister between February 2006 and October 2007.

The FIR dated December 21, 2015 was registered by the Karnataka Lokayukta Police for the offence under sections 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, based on a complaint filed by one Vasudeva Reddy.

The court also pulled up the Police for its laxity in investigation and noted, “The circumstances clearly indicate that the delay is intentional and deliberate. However, the court refrained from holding that the Police (respondent no. 1), “has succumbed to the pressure of the petitioner, who has been holding the position of the Chief Minister of the State of Karnataka.”

The single bench said, “Respondent No.1, being an independent and impartial body entrusted with the duty to investigate into the misconduct of the public servants objectively cannot give rise to an impression in the mind of the general public that it is playing into the hands of the political bigwigs.”

Hence, the court did not direct any action against the Lokayukta Police entrusted with the investigation, lest it would prejudice the investigation. But it nonetheless noted, “the laxity in conducting the investigation in the instant case is deprecated and the Lokayukta Court is directed to keep watch over the investigation ordered by the Criminal Courts in respect of the misconduct of public servants and MPs and MLAs involved in the commission of criminal offences.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Chief Minister to quash the FIR against him. Senior Advocate C V Nagesh appearing for BS Yeddyurappa argued that, in respect of the very same FIR, accused No.1 Raghunath Vishwanath Deshpande had approached the High court which quashed the FIR in 2015 and in view of this order, investigation against the present petitioner based on the very same FIR is illegal and amounts to abuse of process of court.

But the court rejected this argument and said “From the reading of the complaint, I find that distinct and separate allegations are made against the petitioner.” The court said that with respect to the offences levelled against the Chief Minister, it discloses to be a cognizance offence and thus needs thorough investigation.

The petitioner’s counsel also argued that under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in order to prosecute a public servant, prior sanction is required before the Court takes cognisance of the offence. But Justice John Michael rejected this contention and said,

“Petitioner having ceased to hold the office of Deputy Chief Minister which he was holding as on the date of commission of the alleged offence, there is no requirement of obtaining prior sanction. This view is resoundingly reiterated in Abhay Singh Chautala vs. Central Bureau of Investigation (2011) 7 SCC 141. In the light of this settled legal position, the argument of the learned Senior Counsel for petitioner that the order of reference made by the learned Special Judge is bad for non-production of sanction under section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is rejected.”

Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition.

The order may be read here:


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