Saturday, 15 October 2011

Facing imminent arrest, former Karnataka Chief Minister

Facing imminent arrest, former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday surrendered before a Lokayukta court in Bangalore and was sent to jail for a week after he was issued an arrest warrant in connection with alleged land scams.
On a day of high drama, the 68-year-old BJP leader, who resigned as chief minister on July 31 in the wake of his indictment by the Lokayukta in illegal mining scam, turned up in the court even as a team of police officials went to his house for arresting him.
Yeddyurappa is the first former chief minister of Karnataka to go to jail and the development has come as a major embarassment to BJP whose leader L K Advani is on a countrywide campaign against corruption.
Significantly, Karnataka, where Yeddyurappa had headed the first government of BJP in the South, does not figure in Advani's campaign yatra.
Acting on a complaint by two laweyers against Yeddyurappa for alleged irregularities in denotification of lands during his tenure as chief minister, special Lokayukta judge N K Sudhindra Rao rejected his bail application.
The former chief minister had failed to appear before the court while his sons B Y Raghavendra, MP, and B Y Vijendra as also his son-in-law Sohan Kumar appeared in the court and got bail.
The judge remanded Yeddyurappa to judicial custody till October 22. His lawyer M B Naik had earlier said that they would challenge the Lokayukta court order in the High Court.
Another accused, former minister S N Krishnaiah Setty, was also remanded to judicial custody till October 22 by the judge who also granted bail to BJP MLA Hemachandra Sagar and 10 others in the case.
Rejecting the bail pleas of Yeddyurappa and Setty on the grounds of gravity of their offence, the court said the involvement of both in the alleged irregularities in denotification of lands was 'all-pervading'.
It said since they were powerful and influential people, they could put pressure on the witnesses and tamper with evidence.
Earlier, reading out his order in a packed court, the judge said he has rejected the bail pleas of Yeddyurappa and Setty but allowed those of 14 others.
Shortly after Yeddyurappa surrendered, a Lokayukta police team, headed by its Deputy Superintendent of Police Prasanna Raju, escorted him to Parappana Agrahara Central Prison on the city outskirts.
The court also rejected the applications moved by Yeddyurappa seeking exemption from personal appearance on grounds that he was suffering from severe back pain and unable to take the stairs.
The judge directed Yeddyurappa's family members to furnish a bond for Rs five lakh and Rs 10 lakh as surety in the two cases for their bail and also submit to the court a chartered accountant-certified copies of bank accounts of Davalagiri Properties and Adarsh Homes Pvt Limited owned by them.
The court directed the remaining accused freed on bail to furnish a bond for Rs five lakh and slapped conditions that they should not tamper with evidence and not make any attempt to flee the country.
Setty collapsed as the court pronounced the order. Seeing his condition, the judge directed officials to provide proper treatment before taking him to jail.
Minutes after learning about the court order, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda cancelled his trip to Mumbai and was closetted with some of his ministerial colleagues, including Home Minister R Ashoka.
Lawyer Srijan Basha, on whose complaint the court acted against Yeddyurappa, had alleged that the former chief minister denotified lands in Arakere, Agara, Devarachikkanahalli, Geddalahalli in favour of the accused causing huge losses to the state exchequer.
People gathered in large number outside Yeddyurappa's Race Course residence as a police team entered with the arrest warrant.
Earlier, Yeddyurappa rushed to a temple to invoke the blessings of the Gods and appeared before the court before the sitting ended for the day.
Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda summoned Bangalore City Police Commissioner Jyoti Prakash Mirji and held discussions with him on law and order issues.

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