Bhardwaj allows Yeddyurappa’s prosecution, BJP calls for Karnataka bandh (Roundup)

Friday, January 21, 2011

BANGALORE - Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj late Friday allowed filing of criminal cases against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa over corruption charges.

Yeddyurappa termed the decision as “broad daylight murder of democracy and justice” and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a Karnataka ‘bandh (shutdown) Saturday to protest the governor’s decision.

The permission to launch criminal proceedings against BJP’s first chief minister in south India was sought by two Bangalore-based advocates, Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj, on Dec 28 following revelation that Yeddyurappa had favoured his kin with prime land in and around Bangalore.

Bhardwaj noted that Basha and Balaraj had sought his permission “under section 19(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 for prosecuting” Yeddyurappa “for various grave allegations of corruption and criminal misconduct”.

Their plea “has been considered by His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka and he has granted the sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa, by an order passed by him this evening”, the governor’s office said in a release.

Though the two advocates had sought permission to prosecute Home Minister R. Ashoka also, the Raj Bhavan release was silent on it. Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code deals with ‘prosecution of Judges and public servants’ while section 19(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act deals with ‘previous sanction necessary for prosecution’ of public servants.

Basha told IANS that a criminal case will be filed against Yeddyurappa in a Bangalore court Monday.

We are grateful to the governor for granting us permission to prosecute the chief minister. We are in touch with our counsel to draft the petition to file the criminal case in the 23rd special court Monday, Basha said.

Bhardwajs decision was hailed by opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular parties while BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley condemned it.

Yeddyurappa, who took office in May 2008 and has been battling charges of nepotism in land allotment since November last year, termed Bhardwajs action as highly politically motivated and unconstitutional.

The governor is carrying his political agenda with his office has acted in an arbitrary and partisan manner giving a go by to principles of natural justice.

The BJP state unit met soon after Bhardwaj made known his decision and decided to organize Karnataka shutdown, party spokesperson S. Prakash said.

The party had earlier Friday announced that its central leaders and parliament members from the state would meet President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi on Jan 24 and also organize rallies across the state demanding Bhardwajs recall.

The spokesperson said the party would decide whether to continue with this plan or not Saturday. Right now we are busy with tomorrows bandh, he said.

JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda hailed Bhardwajs decision and said Yeddyurappa should resign forthwith.

State Congress spokesperson also welcomed the governors decision and said Yeddyurappa should quit at least now.

Yeddyurappa said in his statement: It is unfortunate that the governor has taken the decision to accord sanction for prosecution, even before any preliminary enquiry or any opportunity to me in this case on a private individuals complaint.

He accused Bhardwaj of acting in a biased manner. From the beginning the governor has been behaving in a biased manner as an agent of Congress and JDS, Yeddyurappa asserted.

This is nothing but broad day light murder of democracy and justice, he said adding what the opposition parties could not achieve directly through the mandate of the people has been achieved by them through the office of the Governor and Raj Bhavan.

I leave it to the people to decide what is right and what is wrong.There is no instance in judicial history of any arbitrary decision like this without recourse to an enquiry… I have full faith in the judicial system of this country and I will come out clean, Yeddyurappa said.

Filed under: Politics

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