Bangalore: In a relief to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday granted him bail in a graft case following which he is set to end his 25-day-long jail stay.
Justice B V Pinto granted conditional bail to 68-year old Yeddyurappa in the second case on Tuesday after he secured a similar relief in another case last week.
Yeddyurappa was remanded to judicial custody on 15 October by the Lokayukta Court which had issued arrest warrant against him in connection with private complaints alleging irregularities in denotification of government land to his family members and others when he was the chief minister.
File photo of BS Yeddyurappa
Along with Yeddyurappa, who was asked to furnish a bond for Rs five lakh, his former ministerial colleague and co-accused S N Krishnaiah Setty was also granted bail by the high court.
Justice Pinto observed that the lower court had relied on the sworn statement by the complainant without taking into account whether the documents submitted by him were verified and subjected to scrutiny.
The complainant has not averred that the documents furnished by him are “true”, the judge observed and declared “therefore, there is no impediment in granting bail.”
He also noted that the sworn statement by the complainant did not disclose any offence made under the provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
Yeddyurappa, who quit in August following his indictment by the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, landed in legal trouble after the Lokayukta court took cognisance of offences made out in two private complaints filed against him by advocates Sirajin Basha and K N Balaraj.
Justice Pinto said Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act provides for denotification of land by the government and noted “no fault can be made out against the accused for this as the said act (denotification) is not a crime in nature even if denotification is done violating rules”.
“The sworn statement does not disclose any offence. The sessions court should not have rejected the bail applications of the accused”, the Judge opined.
The court also held that the lower court should not have taken into consideration the documents furnished by the complainants, which had not been verified or subjected to scrutiny.
Granting bail to Setty, the Judge said the Karnataka Land Use Restriction Act under which the former minister had been accused of getting agricultural land converted into non-agricultural use was not also punishable offence under the law.
Both accused have neither any antecedent of crime nor was any case pending against them, Justice Pinto observed.
BJP leaders including chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, his ministerial colleagues and state unit president K S Eswarappa welcomed the court order.
Yeddyurappa’s native village Bookanakere in Mandya district celebrated by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
Three more private complaints filed by Basha are still pending before the Lokayukta court. While sworn statements have been recorded in the fourth and fifth, the process is yet to begin on the first complaint.