Hearing of complaints against CM, others adjourned to Feb 26



Bangalore: Amid pandemonium, a local court on Monday adjourned to February 26 hearing of complaints filed against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and some of his family members including his son-in-law, over allegations of corruption.

Additional Civil and Sessions Judge and Special Judge C B Hipparagi adjourned the hearing for orders on the issue of whether the accused has the right of audience before the summons are issued by the court.

When proceedings began, counsel for Sohan Kumar (Chief Minister's son-in-law), filed a memo objecting to senior counsel Anup Chowdary assisting advocate on record C H Hanumantharaya appearing on behalf of the complainants.

Counsel Sandeep Patil submitted that since Hanumantharaya was already appearing in the case as the Special Public Prosecutor, he cannot sub-delegate his work to another senior advocate.

Chowdary argued that there is no public prosecutor in this case as it is a private complaint filed by city-based advocates which has been accorded sanction by the governor.

"Is it necessary for the government to appoint a public prosecutor in private complaint? You (judge) have to see this first. Can a private complaint become a state case? It is ridiculous," Chowdary said.

He submitted that the high court order quoted by the defence counsel in the Katta Jagadish vs Lokayukta case "does not apply here because it is a private complaint".

Quoting Supreme Court judgments extensively, Chowdary said "such an objection was a mockery of law and travesty of justice". As per an apex court judgment, he said, till the summons of process are issued against the accused, he does not have right of audience and cannot take part in proceedings.

"When he (accused) cannot be even heard and has the right only to observe the proceedings, how can he file a memo. The accused at this pre-process stage has no locus standi."

He submitted that a private complainant had every right to engage a lawyer of his choice and "there is no law which prohibits engaging a private counsel in case of a private complaint".

Chowdary pleaded with the court to "send the right message to the people of equal and fair treatment. And for this it is necessary that the court must give orders for recording of evidence under section 200 of the CrPC".

Senior counsel Ravi B Naik appearing on behalf of Chief Minister argued that he had every right to be heard as he "was just an applicant before the court not an accused at this stage".

His remark "I know how faithful the governor was (in according the sanction", sparked off a wordy duel between him and Chowdary who described him as an "intruder and an interloper".

Amid noisy scenes, Chowdary appealed to the court to adjourn the case for further orders.

PTI