Karnataka Chief Minister B.S Yediyruappa, on Wednesday, January 27, breathed a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court protected him from arrest in connection with a 2012 corruption and forgery case. Former State Industries Minister Murugesh R Nirani's arrest has also stayed.
However, the apex court did not stay the January 5 order of Karnataka High court allowing restoration of criminal proceedings against them in alleged illegal land de-notification case. It ordered that " there shall be stay of arrest in the meantime".
"You (Yediyurappa) are a sitting Chief Minister. Who can issue arrest warrant against you," the top court observed.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, which issued notices to complainants, one A Alam Pasha and others, in the case agreed to examine the pleas of Yediyurappa and Nirani challenging the order of the high court restoring the complaint.
Chief Minister raised objection in the light of Prevention of Corruption ( Amendment ) Act 2018 Section 19, that offers protection to a public servant and also made reference to section 197 of CrPC which directs obtaining prior sanction for prosecution of Judges and Public Servant.
The law articulates that "No police officer shall conduct any enquiry or inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant under this Act, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant in discharge of his official functions or duties."
According to media reports, the chain of events began on April 2012, when petitioner Mr Pasha, Managing director of Pash Space International Pvt Ltd, filed a complaint accusing both the ministers and other state officials for criminal conspiracy and using forged documents to illegally grab 26 acres of land out of 4500 acres of land originally allocated for Hardware Park, IT Park and the Aerospace at the Devanahalli Industrial Area.
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