Bangalore: The Karnataka high court quashed a police complaint filed against former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in an illegal mining case, opening up the way to his possible political resurrection. The complaint was based on a report by the anti-corruption ombudsman, the Lokayukta, that led to his exit as chief minister last year.

Eyeing a comeback: B. S. Yeddyurappa. By Hemant Mishra/Mint

The judges also quashed chapter 22 of the Lokayukta report that dealt extensively with Yeddyurappa’s alleged role in illegal mining in Karnataka.

“It (chapter 22) has no connection with illegalities/irregularities in the mining. Therefore, we hold that report of the Lokayukta is also not within the scope of reference made to it by the government," the court order said.

In the application, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician challenged the Lokayukta police’s first information report (FIR) and also Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj’s action directing the ombudsman to initiate criminal proceedings against him. Yeddyurappa also contended that he was not given an opportunity by the Lokayukta to explain his side of the case— an argument the court accepted.

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The Karnataka high court has dismissed a police complaint against former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. Mint’s Shamsheer Yousaf looks at the implications.

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“Satyameva jayate (truth shall triumph)," Yeddyurappa told reporters. “By the blessings of the God and people, I have got justice from court. I always held the judiciary in high esteem."

Yeddyurappa headed off to a temple for thanksgiving after the court order, which may clear the ground for his return to the centre stage of Karnataka politics. He said he would leave it to the BJP’s central leadership to give him “justice."

Yeddyurappa resigned in the wake of his indictment in the report on illegal mining submitted on 27 July by then Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hedge.

“I am not going to ask for anything," the former chief minister said. “It is left to the high command to decide. I have 100% trust in my party leadership that they will do justice to me."

BJP state president K.S. Eshwarappa said the judgement was good news for the party. On the prospect of Yeddyurappa’s return as chief minister, he said, “There are still some more cases pending against him. But ultimately it is a decision to be taken by the central leadership."

Some of these cases are related to decisions taken by him to denotify government land in favour of private parties.

Yeddyurappa will still have to await a decision by the central empowered committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court, which will submit a report on whether the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should investigate his role in the mining case.

The committee will submit a report within a month on whether the CBI should investigate the role of Yeddyurappa.

“Since we are operating under the instructions of the Supreme Court, we will continue with our work," said a member of the committee on condition of anonymity. The Karnataka government has already filed an affidavit with the CEC strongly protesting against attempts to involve the CBI in investigating the case against Yeddyurappa.

According to the affidavit, reviewed by Mint, the government has stated that Yeddyurappa was not the chief minister when the mining leases that were questionable were issued.

Interestingly, the Karnataka government has also stated that there was no need for a CBI inquiry since the Lokayukta police was investigating the case. The affidavit was filed earlier this month.

shamsher.y@livemint.com

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