Outgoing Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday moved the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining and questioned its recommendations to prosecute him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Hours before Lokayukta Santosh Hegde demitted office, Yeddyurappa also filed a petition with the anti-corruption watchdog seeking a review of its report, saying the stigma attached to him by his indictment would continue to haunt him and pleaded for an opportunity to prove his innocence.Yeddyurappa’s move two days after he resigned came ahead of the BJP legislature party meeting tomorrow when his successor would be chosen in a tricky exercise that has brought out the party’s unit as a badly divided house.
In his petition in the high court, Yeddyurappa prayed the court for quashing Chapter 22 of the report, which holds him guilty over the financial transactions between South West Mining Company and Prerana Education Society (PES) -a trust owned and managed by his family members in Shimoga.
The Lokayukta recommendations relating to this transaction were beyond the scope of reference made by the government for probing illegal mining in the state, he said in the petition which is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow or the day after.
He contended that the recommendation to prosecute him was also violative of a division bench order which stated that notices should be issued and explanation sought from those coming under the scope of the probe.
Yeddyurappa said he was not given a chance to explain his stand by the Lokayukta.Yeddyurappa also submitted that neither the South West Mining Company nor Jindal Steels, whose applications seeking mining leases were pending since 2003, have been involved in mining activity in Karnataka.
According to the Lokayukta findings, South West Mining Company had donated Rs 10 crore to a trust (run by Yeddyurappa’s family) while Jindal Steels purchased an acre of land (from Yeddyurappa’s family members) on Bangalore outskirts for Rs 20 crore, whereas the guidance value fixed by the government was Rs 1.40 crore.
In the petition before the Lokayukta, Yeddyurappa pleaded for reconsidering its recommendation for prosecuting him under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, saying it was contrary to the Lokayukta Act and “there are certain errors which have crept into the report”.
The report had not provided any substantive evidence to prove the charge against him, Yeddyurappa, who quit after putting a show of defiance following a direction by the BJP central leadership, said.”The recommendations made in this case are liable for reconsideration as it is not part of the reference made by the state government. In fact, the recommendations are beyond the reference made by government,” he said.
The government had sought a probe into illegal mining for the period from 2000 to July 19, 2010, the petition presented to the Lokayukta by Yeddyurappa’s political secretary B J Puttaswamy said. Yeddyurappa said had he been served a notice on the issue of Rs 10 crore donation received by the Prerana Education Society, the Lokayukta findings would have been otherwise.
He sought to distance himself from the trust, saying “so far as the donation to the trust (is concerned), I unequivocally make it clear that I am not a party to the trust. I was never involved directly or indirectly in the affairs of the trust. I have no say in the trust”.