On court order; probe to begin now; ex-CM accused of wrongdoing on Rs 1,033-cr irrigation project contract.
More trouble is on the cards for former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is already facing charges of corruption. The Lokayukta police today registered a first information report (FIR) against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act for investigation into charges of financial irregularities while awarding the second stage works of the Upper Bhadra irrigation canal project.
The FIR was filed under Section 13 (1) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1994, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The move follows an August 8 order of a court, directing the Lokayukta police to investigate the said charges, levelled against Yeddyurappa in a private complaint filed by Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson Y S V Dutta.
“We have only registered an FIR for investigating the graft case. It is too early to say what will be the next course of action. The question of arresting the accused (Yeddyurappa) does not arise now. The law will take its own course. The police have to first investigate,” V Shivaraj Patil, the Lokayukta, told reporters here.
In the complaint, Dutta alleged the project was given to the highest bidder, Murudeshwar Power Corporation, a subsidiary of RNS Infrastructure, which had bid Rs 1,033 crore, contrary to the norm where the lowest bidder gets any government project. In return, RNS is alleged to have transferred Rs 13 crore to companies owned by Yeddyurappa’s family members.
Dutta also questioned a donation of Rs 10 crore by a private mining firm to Prerana Educational Society, run by Yeddyurappa’s family in Shimoga.
Yeddyurappa was the chairperson of the government agency, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd, that had awarded the Murudeshwar contract. This was in 2008-09 and work on the project commenced last year. The government has released an advance amount of Rs 103 crore to Murudeshwar for the works.
The irrigation project (Phase 2 of Upper Bhadra Lift Irrigation Project in Chitradurga district) awarded to Murudeshwar was originally estimated at Rs 550 crore in 2003-2004. It has since nearly doubled.
In another development, the high court here had today adjourned to August 17 the hearing of a petition filed by Yeddyurappa for quashing of Chapter 22 of the Lokayukta report that indicted him in connection with illegal mining.
A bench of judges K L Manjunath and H S Kempanna adjourned the petition, granting time to the petitioner to produce relevant documents of the U V Singh report on illegal mining.