A single bench of Justice John Michael Cunha of Karnataka High Court refused to quash the FIR registered by the Karnataka Lokayukta Police against CM BS Yediyurappa alleged of offence of de-notifying parcels of land and allotting it to entrepreneurs under sections 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
It was based on a private complaint filed by Vasudeva Reddy against CM BS Yediyurappa.
The allegation against CM BS Yediyurappa is that he had de-notified parcels of land and allotted it to entrepreneurs, during his tenure as the Deputy Chief Minister of State, during the period of February 2006 to October 2007.
The bench asked the police about delay in investigation against CM BS Yediyurappa and said “The circumstances clearly indicate that the delay is intentional and deliberate.”
The court opined “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.”
It added “In the circumstances of the case, having regard to the fact that the investigation is still in progress, I refrain from directing any action against the Lokayukta Police entrusted with the investigation, lest it would prejudice the investigation. However, 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.”
Further it was contended that order of reference is bad for non-production of sanction under section 197 Cr.P.C., and section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The bench held that this also does not merit acceptance.
It said “Petitioner having ceased to hold the office of Deputy CM BS Yediyurappa 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 learned Special Judge is bad for non-production of sanction under section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is rejected.”
The court said “Insofar as the requirement of sanction under section 197 Cr.P.C., is concerned, the section bars cognizance and not the investigation. This plea, therefore, is liable to be rejected outright as premature.”