SC: Why do you want BSY in jail?

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In a big relief to former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a CBI plea for cancellation of his anticipatory bail granted by the Karnataka High Court in an alleged illegal mining-related land allotment case. A Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla dismissed the CBI plea and asked Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the agency, “Why do you want this man inside (the jail).”

The CBI is investigating the case against Mr Yeddyurappa following an order issued by the forest bench on May 11, asking the agency to probe two specific allegations against the former CM. The SC had asked the CBI to probe the alleged purchase of a piece of land by Mr Yeddyurappa in the name of his two sons and a son-in-law for Rs 40 lakh in 2006 and selling it to a Jindal group mining company for Rs 20 crore in 2010 after denotifying it. The company had paid another Rs 10 crore to an education society run by his family.

The CBI had registered an FIR against Yeddyurappa following the SC order and he had obtained anticipatory bail from the high court, fearing arrest. During Monday’s hearing, the court pointed out to the CBI counsel that the two specific allegations made against Mr Yeddyurappa on the basis of Lokayukta report did not “constitute” an offence unless the investigations showed that these were done with some ulterior motive amounting to corruption.

“You investigate, file a chargesheet and prove it (in the trial court). But at this stage, even if we assume that there is a link (about the ulterior motive) it does not mean he should be inside (the jail),” the bench told the CBI counsel. When Mr Prasaran alleged that Mr Yeddyurappa was “not cooperating” with the investigators, the top court said the CBI has the legal option open as the HC granted only conditional bail to him.

The agency was free to go back to the HC if he had violated any of the conditions or was creating any problem in the investigation. When the he persisted with his argument that the HC while granting bail had virtually gone into the merits of the case and “given a clean chit” to the former CM,, the SC said the trial court would assess the case "uninfluenced" by any observation made by the HC in its bail order.

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