The Supreme Court today ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into allegations of former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa being involved in the notorious illegal iron ore mining in the state, giving the agency till 3 August to submit its report.
The Supreme Court told the CBI to use the report of the centrally empowered committee (CEC), an environmental panel set up under the apex court, for registration of a first information report (FIR) against Yeddyurappa. The court asked all other courts and authorities dealing with this case or hearing any litigation relating to this matter to hold the matter till further orders.
The verdict deals a further blow to Yeddyurrapa, already under investigation for an alleged land-grab scam, using his close relatives as fronts to acquire land 'de-notified' under his regime. De-notification frees the land, originally owned by the Bangalore Development Authority, to be used for private purposes, including building luxurious country mansions.
Yeddyurappa had been forced out of the chief minister's chair by the BJP's top command last year over the land-grab scam. He has been lobbying hard with his party bosses to get himself reinstated; but the latest Supreme Court ruling deals a blow to his ambitions.
The CEC in April recommended to the apex court that the CBI probe payments made by a mining company to two firms owned by close relatives of Yeddyurappa.
The committee, in its recommendation to the forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, also sought investigation into whether there was any link between these payments and the grant of a mining lease to a person named Praveen Chandra during Yeddyurappa's tenure as chief minister.
The top court said the CBI will probe all charges against Yeddyurappa, including the de-notification of land and his alleged nexus with the Jindal Group and South West Mining Co, an arm of Jindal.
It directed the agency to look into allegations that South West Mining allegedly made donations worth crores of rupees to the Prerna Educational Society Trust set up and run by Yeddyurappa's family members in return for mining concessions.