A special CBI court in Bengaluru on Wednesday acquitted the BJP’s Karnataka president B S Yeddyurappa of charges of corruption, cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery in an alleged R40-crore mining-related case pertaining to the 2008-2011 period, when he was the state’s chief minister.
Yeddyurappa, his two sons B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, his son-in-law R N Sohan Kumar, and nine others — including top officials of private steel manufacturer JSW Steel — were acquitted of all charges in the case by principal CBI judge R B Dharmagoudar.
“Accused numbers one to 13 are acquitted for the offences punishable under sections 120B read with section 420, 409, 408, 471 of the Indian Penal Code and under section 7, 9, 11,12,13 read with 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and section 9 read with section 4 of Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act 1991. The bail bond of all the accused stands cancelled,’’ the court said in the operative portion of the 412-page acquittal order.
Following the verdict, Yeddyurappa posted on Twitter: “Satyameva Jayathe. Justice is done. I stand vindicated.”
Expressing relief at the verdict, he said, “I am happy that false allegations and politically motivated charges have been dismissed. I have suffered a lot over the last five years.” He said that the verdict would provide a boost to his efforts to bring the BJP back to power in Karnataka in the 2018 state polls.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case on October 16, 2012, naming Yeddyurappa and the 12 others, and claiming that it had found evidence of payment of R40 crore by affiliates of JSW Steel to the personal bank accounts of the BJP leader’s family members and a family trust.
The CBI had charged that the payments were made to Yeddyurappa’s family as quid pro quo for mining-related favours granted to the firm by the then state government, including waiver of dues, supply of iron ore at concessional rates and for imposing a ban on exports of iron ore. The CBI had charged that the personal bank accounts of Yeddyurappa’s sons B Y Raghavendra — now a BJP MLA in Karnataka — and B Y Vijayendra, and a son-in-law Sohan Kumar received R20 crore between August and September 2010 from a JSW Steel-affiliate South West Mining Company.
The CBI had claimed in its chargesheet that an additional sum of R20 crore was donated by JSW Steel affiliates to the Prerana Educational and Social Trust run by Yeddyurappa’s sons. As much as R6 crore received by the Prerana Trust was subsequently transferred to the Swamy Vivekananda Vidya Samsthe where Yeddyurappa was a trustee, the CBI alleged in its chargesheet.
Yeddyurappa and his sons were also accused of illegally selling an acre of government land near Bengaluru to JSW Steel affiliates at a cost of R20 crore allegedly as part of an effort to cover up the receipt of bribes from the firm.