Anticipatory bail pleas of Yeddy, kin dismissed

Bangalore: In a fresh setback for beleaguered former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, a CBI court here today dismissed the anticipatory bail petitions filed by him and his family members in connection with the illegal mining case.

CBI judge D R Venkata Sudarshan dismissed the petitions of Yeddyurappa, his sons B Y Raghavendra, a Lok Sabha member, and B Y Vijendra and son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar, stating that granting bail would come in the way of the investigation by CBI which is probing the case on a Supreme Court directive.

In a 75-page order, the court said it was "taking into consideration the magnitude of the case" and "ensuring free and fair investigation" for rejecting the bail. It also said CBI`s arugment that Yeddyurappa as a former Chief Minister and Raghavendra, as a sitting MP were "influential persons" could not be set aside. However, "mere rejection of anticipatory bail applications cannot be a ground for arrest", the court said.

In his arguments, CBI counsel Ashok Bhan had earlier submitted Rs 20 crore was transferred by Jindal Steel Works (JSW) to Prerana Educational and Social Trust, run by Yeddyurappa`s sons, and subsequently by Prerana to Vivekananda Trust, of which Yeddyurappa is a trustee. CBI, he pointed out, was probing charges of conspiracy cheating, corruption and violation of Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act, 1991, registered against Yeddyurappa, his sons, son-in-law, JSW and others.

According to CBI, the donations were a "quid pro quo for Jindal". Yeddyurappa had moved the court after CBI registered an FIR and raided his and his family`s residential and other premises as part of the probe ordered by the Supreme Court on the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee set up by it to look into illegal mining.

The BJP strongman in the state, who quit as chief minister after the Lokayukta report`s indictment over illegal mining in July last year, has been entangled in a series of corruption cases pertaining mostly to alleged irregularities in denotification of land during his tenure. Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa, his two sons and son-in-law have filed a petition in Karnataka High Court challenging the CBI court verdict rejecting their anticipatory bail pleas.