Bengaluru, Oct 26: Former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP state president B S Yediyurappa, who played an important role in the installation of the first BJP government in Karnataka, was acquitted by a special CBI court on Wednesday in a Rs. 40 crore bribery case related to the alleged grant of favors to a JSW Steel affiliate to mine iron ore.
Yeddyurappa's two sons, a son-in-law, and others were also given clean chit in this case. Yeddyurappa, his two sons, a son-in-law, steel major JSW Steel and four Bellary-based JSW Steel affiliates were cleared of criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery and corruption charges.
The judgment delivered in a packed court hall and Judge R B Dharmagouder also exonerated nine other accused in the kickback case which had cost Yeddyurappa dearly as he had to relinquish the post of Chief Minister in 2011 following indictment by the then Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde.
“Satyameva Jayate. Justice is done. I stand vindicated,” a relieved Yeddyurappa tweeted shortly after the verdict.
“I am happy that false allegations and politically motivated charges have been dismissed,” the state BJP strongman, who has returned as the state BJP chief earlier this year, told reporters.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet on October 16, 2012, accusing Yeddyurappa and 12 others of corruption after investigations purportedly revealed that Rs 20 crore was deposited in personal bank accounts of Yeddyurappa’s sons B Y Raghavendra (now a BJP MLA in Karnataka) and B Y Vijendra, and his son-in-law Sohan Kumar between August and September 2010.
According to the charge sheet, an additional Rs 20 crore was donated by JSW Steel affiliates to Prerana Educational and Social Trust, run by Yeddyurappa’s sons, allegedly to facilitate waiver of mining dues and push through pending mining lease applications.
The case also saw Yeddyurappa spend about three weeks in jail in October 2011 in connection with the case before he was granted bail.
The accused had been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption, according to the CBI charge sheet which had alleged involvement of Rs.40 crore kickbacks, including Rs 20 crore that was allegedly paid to a trust run by the Yeddyurappa's family, for granting favours, including mining licenses, during his chief ministership.
Yediyurappa said that the court verdict had come as a relief to lakhs of BJP workers and gave a “new fillip” to him to bring back the party to power in the next Assembly polls in Karnataka.