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In a temporary relief for state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on Friday granted an interim stay on FIRs filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau against him for alleged illegal denotification of land by him as chief minister.
Justice Aravind Kumar granted the interim stay on the grounds of lack of sufficient material to prove cognisable offences ofYeddyurappa under the Prevention of Corruption Act or IPC, both in the complaint and preliminary probe conducted by ACB.
"After hearing both parties, this honourable court finds lack of material in the complaint and preliminary investigation conducted by ACB for registration of the FIRs against the petitioner, in this case Yeddyurappa, and hence this honourable court grants interim stay on the matter," Justice Kumar said.
The judge observed that the inordinate delay in registering the FIRs after receiving the complaint against Yeddyurappa raises suspicion about the intent of ACB, which is under the control of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Two FIRs had been filed against the BJP leader, based on a complaint by a member of the 'Jana Samanya Vedike', a social organisation.
"The considerable delay caused by ACB to register the FIRs also caused prejudice to the accused (Yeddyurappa)," he said.
Yeddyurappa had alleged that ACB was being used to target opposition leaders in the Congress-ruled state "in retaliation" to the recent Income Tax raids on Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar.
Justice Kumar also took cognisance of Yeddyurappa's submissions that the ACB had not followed its own rules, like seeking sanction from competent authority before registering the case.
He had alleged that the FIRs against him stemmed from "political vendetta and malafide intentions".
Yeddyurappa had moved the court seeking quashing of the ACB proceedings against him in the case.
He has been accused of denotifying 257 acres of land out of 3,546 acres meant for Dr K Shivaram Karanth Layout, "bypassing" the Bengaluru Development Authority when he was the chief minister between May, 2008 and July, 2011.