HC grants interim stay on FIR against Kumaraswamy

Bangalore: Karnataka High Court on Thursday granted interim stay on an FIR registered by Lokayukta Police against former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy following a complaint accusing him of facilitating illegal mining during his tenure and posted the hearing to January 5.

Justice BV Pinto directed Lokayukta Police not to arrest and harass Kumaraswamy and family members.The judge directed complainant T J Abraham to file objections to arguments put forth by Kumaraswamy's counsel Hazmath Pasha before January 5.

Pasha contended that false and frivolous complaints were filed with an intention to gain publicity and harass Kumaraswamy and his family members.

Counsel contended that the complaint was "not maintainable" as an earlier one on the matter of renewing mining lease of Jantakal Mining Company was dismissed by the High Court on October 21. "Therefore since it is the second complaint on the same matter, it amounts to double jeopardy", he submitted.

Referring to the mining lease granted to another firm Sai Venkateshwara, Pasha contended that "no offence has been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act" and that the Lokayukta report has not sought criminal prosecution against him with regard to leases granted to two others.

He also contended there was no loss to the state exchequer because of these two mining leases as these were not given effect to and no mining operations took place.

On Abraham's charge, one also levelled earlier by mining baron Janardhan Reddy against Kumaraswamy that he had collected Rs 150 crore from mining firms when he was Chief Minister in July 2006, Pasha argued that Reddy's petition had been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Kumaraswamy had filed a plea in the High Court on December 12 praying for quashing of the private complaint accusing him of facilitating illegal mining during his tenure as chief minister four days after Lokayukta Police registered an FIR against him, two former chief ministers and 11 officials.

Kumaraswamy also prayed for quashing the December 2 Lokayukta probe order under section 156 (3) of CrPC (power to investigate cognizable cases) and the investigation being conducted into the matter.