MUST READ: Yeddyurappa's plea to quash Hegde's report
Not willing to give up easily, B S Yeddyurappa has moved the Karnataka high court against the mining report by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde indicting him. Vicky Nanjappa reports on the outgoing chief minister's latest move
Bharatiya Janata Party leader B S Yeddyurappa, who lost the post of Karnataka chief minister after being indicted by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in his report on illegal mining, has challenged the report before the Karnataka high court.
Yeddyurappa has raised several points in his writ petition against the Lokayukta report. He has urged the court to quash the report, and order a stay on it in the interim.
In his petition, the outgoing chief minister pointed out that the report was leaked to the media before submission.
"It was reported therein that the petitioner (Yeddyurappa) was indicted in the yet to be submitted report of the Lokayukta. The leakage of the contents of the report though was regretted by Lokayukta, but nevertheless the indictment of the petitioner was confirmed by the Lokayukta in the media even though the said report was yet to be submitted to the government," says the petition.
Image: B S Yeddyurappa
'Misusing the high office of the Governor'
No notice was issued to him, claims Yeddyurappa, adding that he wasn't given a chance to clarify his position.
He further defends himself by stating:
"Reference was made to Lokayukta to investigate into illegal mining and as such his recommendations against the petitioner are wholly without jurisdiction. Lokayukta could not have gone into the issue related to transactions between private individuals/entities who have nothing to do with the illegal mining in the state.
"The petitioner, who enjoyed a majority, was elected as the chief minister of Karnataka. Several elements who are jealous about he being appointed as a chief minister started misusing the high office of the Governor which led to the Governor recommending the dissolution of the government and the Union government refused to accept the recommendation of the Governor who was the representative of the political party heading the Union government, fearing that the acceptance of the recommendation would be apparently undemocratic and that it would get exposed."
'Mere weeping would not cover up the leak'
"Television channels as well as newspapers continued to report that the Lokayukta had also made references about illegal mining activities by certain ministers. This led to statements being issued by various persons including certain political leaders that the petitioner herein must resign as chief minister of the state. The Lokayukta himself had held press conference and stated that the report which he intended to submit to the government had been leaked. The Lokayukta also made a statement that the reports which were appearing in the newspapers and electronic media were 'indeed true'. The result of which was the petitioner was held guilty even before the report was submitted. Particularly in the background of the investigating authority stating that the leaked report was true.
"It is also relevant to mention that an English daily carried photographs of former chief minister Sri S M Krishna, claiming he was also indicted in the report. Later on, the Lokayukta again held a press conference and made a statement that the statement against Krishna was not true. It is, therefore, clear that even before the report was submitted, there were claims and counter claims about the report itself.
"The Lokayukta also alleges that there is a leak of the report before he could submit to the government. In fact, the Lokayukta is the one who made repeated statements in the media that Sri S M Krishna and several other persons were not named in the report. If this is not a leak of the report what else would be (a leak)? Mere weeping because of the leak would not cover up the leak and the damage done cannot be undone."
The report 'tarnished the image of the petitioner'
"The leakage of the report to the media even before it could be submitted to the government and subsequent confirmation of its content by the Lokayukta has tarnished the image of the petitioner to a great extent and ultimately resulted in him tendering his resignation to the office to which he was democratically elected. His right to reputation was thrown to winds and the democratic process became a mockery.
"In the present case, the Lokayukta has received certain documents related to the donations made by M/s South West Mining Company Limited. It is stated in the report that the three applications for grant of license by M/s Jindal Group were pending before the government. He infers that there was possibility of a favourable reply by the state government. He further concludes that the donations received by the trust and the sale consideration made in favour of the sons of the petitioner herein were in order to get favourable reply by the government. Based on this presumption, the Lokayukta has recommended initiation of criminal proceedings against the petitioner."
Image: A mine in Bellary
'Inconsistencies in the report of the Lokayukta'
"The Lokayukta not only comes to the conclusion but he also records certain collateral findings that the market value of the properties sold in Rachenahalli Village was less than the sale consideration and therefore, it is a sham transaction. However, the Lokayukta before giving his report did not call for an explanation from either the petitioner or sons of the petitioner, Prenana Trust, or South West Mining Company Limited, or Jindal Group. As such, the findings arrived at by the Lokayukta are unsustainable.
"The Lokayukta has not made any endeavours to find out the following aspects:
"Whether such donations were indeed made, under what circumstances the donations were made, whether proceeds of the donations have been utilised for the purpose of trust, what is the nature of the trust, what kind of applications were filed by M/s Jindal Group before the state government, Whether the applications were for grant of mining lease and whether M/s Jindal Group was entitled or disentitled for such a mining lease, whether the petitioner had abused his office by processing such applications or showing any kind of favours to those companies.
"It also requires to be mentioned that there are inconsistencies in the report of the Lokayukta. While dealing with the allegations of misuse of official position by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy related to mining lease, in favour of Janthakal Enterprises and Sai Venkataeswara, the Lokayukta comes to the definite conclusion that there has been misconduct. However, in his discretion, he does not recommend the initiation of criminal prosecution against the former chief minister. If that was the opinion of the Lokayukta in respect of H D Kumarswamy, same should have been his opinion as regards the petitioner also. The report needs to be set aside on the ground of inconsistency in the nature of recommendations related to different persons".
Image: A mine in Bellary