SC grants protection to CM BSY, Nirani in land case

Supreme Court grants protection to Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa, Minister Nirani from arrest in land case

Yeddyurappa and Nirani, now mining minister, approached the top court against the High Court's January 5 order

BS Yediyurappa file photo. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted protection from arrest to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Minister Murugesh Nirani in a case related to their failure to grant 26 acres of land to private investor M Alam Pasha in 2011.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to Pasha on two separate petitions filed by Yediyurappa and Nirani.

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, K V Vishwanathan and Sajan Povayya appeared for the petitioners.

Rohatgi pointed out that the earlier complaint was quashed by the Karnataka High Court and he cannot be pursued on the same complaint. The counsel urged the Supreme Court to stay the Bengaluru court proceedings.

Allowing the plea for stay, the bench told Yediyurappa's counsel, "You are Chief Minister, who will issue a warrant against you."

In its order, the court said, "There shall be stay of arrest in the meantime."

Yediyurappa and Nirani, now a Cabinet minister, have approached the top court against the High Court's January 5 order, allowing criminal proceedings against them.

In their plea, the petitioners raised a legal question whether a court can initiate proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act against a public servant without prior sanction on the ground that he demitted office, which he allegedly abused, in view of an amended provision related to Section 19.

The HC restored a fresh criminal complaint filed against them in the Bengaluru court, despite a previous one having been quashed on October 11, 2013, for want of valid sanction.

The HC had on January 5 held that the quashing of the earlier complaint filed by Pasha for want of sanction, would not operate as a bar to maintain the instant complaint. 

Acting on Pasha's plea against a Special Judge's order of August 26, 2016, the HC had said the order was contrary to the well-established principle of law that sanction for prosecution of the public servants was not necessary after they demit the office or retire from service. 

Pasha accused the CM, Nirani, then Industries Minister and others of allegedly forging documents to show a withdrawal of approval of 26 acres of land to him in Bengaluru Rural's Devanahalli Industrial Area in 2011.