BS Yeddyurappa, Ex-Karnataka CM and BJP leader was found not guilty by a CBI special court in a Rs 40 crore graft case. The Lokayukta report pertaining to this case was the reason behind him losing his Chief-Minister-ship back in 2011. He has long been pitted as the key man to further BJP’s ‘Southern’ ambitions.
Here is a timeline of events ranging from the start of his troubles till his exoneration:
30th May 2008: BS Yeddyurappa took oath as Karnataka CM.
27th July 2011: The Karnataka Lokayukta submitted it’s report on Illegal iron ore mining in the state which had indicted Yeddyurappa and 12 others in receiving favours worth 40 crores from Jindal Steel Works.
31st July 2011: Yeddyurappa forced to resign from the CM post by the BJP following the Lokayukta report.
15th Oct 2011: Yeddyurappa arrested after a warrant was issued against him by the Lokayukta court.
8th Nov 2011: Yeddyurappa granted bail after spending 23 days in jail.
March 2012: The initial FIR by the Lokayukta was quashed by the High Court as Yeddyurappa was not provided a notice before the charges were made thereby robbing him a chance of presenting his case. Also the Lokayukta counsel failed to provide any documentation to sustain their claims. The bench said:
“Even during the arguments on the petition, a specific question was put to counsel for the Lokayukta [asking him] to produce any material to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence but he was mum.”
Oct 2012: CBI files a chargesheet against Yeddyurappa for criminal conspiracy, forgery and corruption. The CBI had been directed to file the case by Supreme Court following a plea by NGO named, Samaj Parivartan Samudaya.
30th Nov 2012: Yeddyurappa leaves the BJP to form his own party Karnataka Janata Paksha.
May 2013: Yeddyurappa elected as MLA from Shikaripura Constituency, his party wins 6 seats.
Jan 2014: Merges his party with the BJP, giving the pretext of wanting to help make Modi become PM.
2nd May 2016: Asked to depose before the special CBI court. Was asked as many as 475 questions and became emotional while answering them.
Jan 2016: In another case against him, the Karnataka High Court quashed proceedings against him with respect to 15 FIRs registered by Lokayukta police over denotification of BDA-acquired lands.
26th Oct 2016: Yeddyurappa acquitted by a special CBI Court in the corruption case stating lack of evidence.
The arguments presented by both sides:
Allegation: Of the 40 crores, 20 crores were provided as a donation to Prerna Trust. This trust was run by Yeddyurappa’s sons.
Defence: The donations were made by cheques(not illegal means) and were a part of JSW’s CSR responsibility. Plus as per the trust’s policy, money could only be used for charitable purposes.
Allegation: Yeddyurappa and sons sold an acre of land to JSW associates for Rs 20 crores while the value was only Rs 5-6 crores.
Defence: The CBI used the government’s guidance value for making this charge and not the prevalent market value, which was much higher.
Allegation: The land in question was illegally acquired by Yeddyurappa’s son by misusing his father’s position.
Defence: The land was already denotified by the government back in 2004 when the BJP was not in power.
Allegation: There was a forged NOC involved.
Defence: The CBI failed to produce it in court.
This might not be the end of the road for Yeddyurappa as the Samaj Parivartan Samudaya has announced their decision to appeal the order. Though Yeddyurappa can have his moment while it lasts and with elections scheduled in 2018, the BJP would really hope that he does.