Bangalore: Facing imminent arrest, former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday surrendered before a Lokayukta court here 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 31 July 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 embarrassment 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 lawyers 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 22 October. 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 22 October by the judge who also granted bail 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.