Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa acquitted in Prerana trust case
In a huge victory to the BJP and B S Yeddyurappa has been acquitted, along with 13 others by CBI special court on Wednesday in the Rs.40 crore mining kickback case.
In October 2011, Yeddyurappa was sent to the Bangalore central jail in connection with the case, but was released on bail within three weeks. His move to quash charges against him in the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court went unfruitful.
Besides Yeddyurappa, two of his sons, BJP MLA B.Y. Raghavendra, B.Y. Vijayendra, his son-in-law Sohan Kumar, JSW Steel and its Bellary-based four affiliates were charge sheeted by the CBI for offering and receiving bribe. They have been charged for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.
In the CBI charge sheet, it has been recorded that Rs 40 crore was paid to a trust run by Yeddyurappa family in 2010 alleged with the grant of official favours, including mining licences, during his tenure as Chief Minister from 2008 to 2011.
The mining licence had been granted to the South West Mining Company (SWMC), an affiliate of JSW Steel, over a period of several years between 2006 and 2011. The money had been allegedly paid to Yeddyurappa through the Prerana Educational and Social Trust, which was set up in 2006, in Shivamogga. Yeddyurappa’s sons Raghavendra, an MLA, and Vijendra are trustees.
In the charge sheet filed on October 16, 2012, it has been noted that Rs 20 crore was deposited in the personal bank accounts of his sons and his son-in-law in August-September 2010. An additional Rs 20 crore was donated to the Trust by companies affiliated to the JSW. The CBI found that Rs 6 crore had been transferred to Swamy Vivekananda Vidya Samsthe, where Yeddyurappa was a trustee.
It has also been alleged that the SWMC purchased a plot of Rs.1.02 crore in Rachenahalli owned by Yeddyurappa’s son at a cost of Rs.20 crore. The report on illegal mining said these transactions were made in anticipation of favours from the Karnataka government, then headed by Yeddyurappa.
The Prerana Trust acquired 39.36 acres in Shivamogga district, in violation of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act. Educational institutions recognised by either the State or the Centre should not acquire more than two units of land (5.4 acres constitute one unit), as per the rules. The trust, is entitled to have a maximum of 10.32 acres.
The Dharwad-based Samaja Parivarthana Trust filed a complaint with the Supreme Court based on the findings of then Lokayukta N Santhosh Hegde in the report on illegal mining submitted in July 2011. After which, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to investigate all the parties involved in May 2012.
According to media reports, during a court hearing in May, Yeddyurappa got teary-eyed as the court questioned him on his involvement and other aspects of the case. Around 475 questions were asked in court during the two-and-a-half hour hearing. At the end when judge asked if he wanted to say something, Yeddyurappa tearfully said, “I have not done anything wrong and whatever I have done, it is done within the parameters of law.”
He claimed that his actions didn’t cause any losses to the state government. The CBI special court had examined 216 witnesses in the case.