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Governor sanctions Yeddyurappa's prosecution

Wednesday August 03, 2011 02:44:25 PM, IANS

Bangalore: Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Wednesday sanctioned the prosecution of caretaker chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by under the Prevention of Corruption Act for his "criminal involvement" in the multi-crore mining scam in the state.

"The governor recommended the Karnataka Lokayukta to initiate criminal proceedings against Yeddyurappa ... on the basis of the ombudsman's investigation report on illegal mining," a communique from Raj Bhavan said.

Accepting the findings of the voluminous probe report, Bhardwaj recommended the ombudsman to prosecute Yeddyurappa as the competent authority under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1994.

"The governor also directed the ombudsman to take action against Yeddyurappa through the Lokayukta police and conveyed his decision to the registrar of the Lokayukta," the communique noted.

The governor's sanction comes a day after Yeddyurappa filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court Tuesday for a stay on the ombudsman's probe report, which recommended his trial for corruption.

"There is no need for special permission to prosecute Yeddyurappa at this stage as there is need to conduct an investigation by the Lokayukta police. The ombudsman submitted a copy of the probe report to me and I have accepted it as I am the competent authority," Bhardwaj told reporters after administering the oath of office to new ombudsman, retired judge Shivaraj V. Patil.

Former ombudsman N. Santosh Hegde submitted the final report to the state government July 27 on the mining scam, recommending prosecution of Yeddyurappa, four cabinet ministers and scores of officers who were found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"I have also directed the ombudsman to conduct a police investigation against Yeddyurappa and submit a report to me at the earliest. Prosecution will be on the basis of the police investigation. It is now up to the new Lokayukta to go ahead with the investigation," Bhardwaj said.

The probe found that an education trust (Prerana) run by Yeddyurappa's family got Rs.10 crore from the South West Company of Jindal Steel Works (JSW), whose application for three mining leases in the mineral rich Bellary district was pending with the state mining department that came under the chief minister.

The report also found that Yeddyurappa's sons B.Y. Vijayandra and B.Y. Raghvandra sold one acre land at Rachenahalli near the Bangalore airport to South West Company for Rs.20 crore though its market value was only Rs.1.40 crore.

In his petition to the high court, Yeddyurappa contented that the ombudsman had gone beyond the terms of reference to probe illegal mining and that he was not given an opportunity to hear his version before finalising the report.

"The Lokayukta's recommendation to prosecute me for graft is against principles of natural justice," the petition observed.








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