Bangalore: Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday surrendered before a Lokayukta court here and was remanded to judicial custody till October 22. He was sent to Parappana Agrahara Central Prison on the outskirts of the city.
Minutes after learning about the court order, Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had cancelled his trip to Mumbai.
It was a day of high drama after the Lokayukta court issued an arrest warrant against Yeddyurappa in connection with two land denotification cases. Lokayukta police rushed to Yeddyurappa’s residence to deliver the arrest warrant but returned empty handed as the former chief minister went missing.
Yeddyurappa had earlier skipped court when Special Lokayukta Judge NK Sudhindhra Rao pronounced the verdict in a packed court. He had moved an application saying he was suffering from back pain and hence sought exemption from personal appearance. The court rejected his plea.
The Lokayukta court also rejected the bail application of former minister SN Krishnaiah Setty, another accused in the cases, and remanded him to judicial custody till October 22. Setty collapsed as the court pronounced the order.
Rejecting the bail pleas of Yeddyurappa and Setty on the grounds of “gravity of their offence”, the court said that since they were powerful and influential people, they could put pressure on the witnesses and tamper with evidence.
The court, however, granted conditional bail to fourteen others including former CM’s two sons -- BJP Lok Sabha member BY Raghavendra and BY Vijayendra -- and son-in-law R Sohan Kumar and BJP MLA Hemachandra Sagar.
The judge directed Yeddyurappa`s family members to furnish a bond for Rs five lakh and Rs 10 lakh as surety in the two cases for their bail and also submit to the court chartered accountant-certified copies of bank accounts of Davalagiri Properties and Adarsh Homes Pvt Limited owned by them.
The court directed the remaining accused freed on bail to furnish a bond for Rs five lakh and slapped conditions that they should not tamper with evidence and not make any attempt to flee the country.
Yeddyurappa`s lawyer earlier said that they would appeal against Lokayukta court`s decision in the Karnataka High Court on Monday.
The cases were filed by two Bangalore advocates Sirajin Bhasha and NK Balaraj in January this year after Governor HR Bhardwaj gave them sanction to launch criminal proceedings against Yeddyurappa and his kin for conspiring to denotify lands in and around Bangalore in return for monetary gains.
One of the complaints concerns denotification of government land in Geddalahalli and in Devarachikkanahalli and Arakere in favour of people close to the former CM. The second case relates to denotification of land in Uttarahalli and Agara villages.
Yeddyurappa – BJP’s first chief minister in South India – quit on July 31 after the then Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde indicted him in mining scam. He is the first former chief minister of Karnataka to go to jail.
Reacting to Yeddyurappy`s arrest, BJP said it would support him legally but would adopt no tolerance towards graft.
"It is a legal issue. We will certainly fight the issue legally. We will be there legally but BJP will adopt zero tolerance towards corruption," Party spokesman J P Nadda told reporters.
With PTI inputs