In a major setback for Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the Karnataka High Court on March 31 permitted authorities to continue the investigation against him in a case of trying to lure a JD(S) MLA into the BJP's fold.
The order pertains to a criminal case registered against the CM for allegedly trying to lure JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandkur, by influencing his son Sharanagouda, with a promise of money and Ministry in February 2019. This was a time when the BJP was trying to destabilise the Congress- JD(S) coalition government in the state.
Passing the interim order, Justice John Michael Cunha vacated an earlier interim order, reported The Hindu. An earlier interim order by the Karnataka High Court on February 23, 2019 had stayed the investigation into the case.
The FIR was registered based on a complaint lodged by Sharanagouda, who recorded his alleged conversation with CM Yediyurappa, who was then the State president of the BJP. The conversation, Sharanagouda alleged, happened at the Yadgir Circuit House in the early hours of 8 February.
The judge reportedly acknowledged that an offence has been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act while vacating the stay order.
Then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had released the audio clip of the conversation between the two while alleging that Yediyurappa tried to lure JD(S) MLA by offering money and position. He had allegedly tried to persuade Sharangouda into getting his father to defect to BJP.
The FIR also mentions two BJP MLAs Shivanagouda Naik of Devadurga and Preetham Gowda of Hassan. MB Maramkal, a former journalist and then advisor to Yediyurappa, was accused in the case. The three were allegedly present at the Circuit House when Sharanagouda met Yediyurappa and also allegedly tried to persuade him to switch sides.
(This story was first published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission.)