The High Court on Friday stayed the FIRs filed by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) against former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa regarding corruption charges in Shivarama Karantha Layout denotification. With this order Yeddyurappa gets a brief relief from inquiry and probable arrest, reported Kannada Prabha.
It can be recalled that one D Ayyappa had lodged a complaint that Yeddyurappa had misused his office during his tenure as chief minister to denotify 257 acres land acquired for Shivarama Karantha Layout. The ACB had filed 2 FIRs 9 weeks after the complaint was registered. Yeddyurappa had submitted applications to the court appealing to dismiss the FIRs. A single judge bench headed by Justice Aravinda Kumar inquired into the applications and ruled a Stay Order on Friday.
The bench quoted reasons for Stay Order as violation of rules that FIR must be lodged within 7 days of registering the complaint, lack of evidence to prove that the denotification was ordered intentionally, absence of documents to prove that money was received from land owners to denotify. Ayyappa had lodged the complaint on June7, 2017. The FIRs were filed after 9 weeks, one on Aug 10 and second on Aug 17.
According to SC order FIR must be filed within 7 days of lodging the complaint. In case preliminary investigation is undertaken then 6 weeks is granted to file FIR but reason should be clearly mentioned. The ACB had mentioned that the delay was due to preliminary investigations for collecting documents but the complainant himself had submitted required documents from Urban Development Department and Housing Department. Hence ACB’s claim cannot be accepted said the bench.
Also, apart from the documents submitted by the complainant, the ACB has not collected any other documents. The reason for delay is not mentioned clearly in FIR and case diary. This calls for suspicion. Also the applicant has the right to protest the delay, court said.
Permitting further investigation in such a situation will amount to prejudice and hence the court instructed ACB not to proceed until the hearing is completed. The court also clarified that the interim order will apply only to the interim application.