The Supreme Court today reserved its order on the plea that a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry should be conducted against former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for nepotism, illegal land acquisition and favouring top mining companies. The order would be announced next week
The JSW Group, among those named in the transactions as beneficiaries, along with others opposed the move, arguing investigations had already been conducted into allegations by the state Lokayukta and an inquiry by the CBI would infringe the principle of federalism.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, said the documents presented by the centrally empowered committee (CEC) of the court pointed at the devastation of forests and serious illegalities in the mining sector. The court can order an investigation on the basis of the documents alone. The CEC has submitted a report dated April 20, along with documents showing irregularities.
The counsel for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, Prashant Bhushan, said the Lokayukta was defunct in Karnataka, as it was headless for a long time. He said as the Lokayukta police is headed by someone facing serious allegations, a CBI inquiry should be ordered. There was no need to hear the accused before filing criminal cases, he added.
In another order, the court ordered that the Lokayukta, the customs department and the Karnataka government should preserve the documents relating to the illegal transportation of huge quantities of iron ore to a state harbour.
The court-appointed senior lawyer, Shyam Divan, supported the demand for a CBI inquiry into the role of the ex-chief minister. The court ordered the matter be placed before the CEC, which would take all necessary steps, in accordance with the earlier order. The case was adjourned till July 13.