New Delhi: Coming as a huge blow to Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered a CBI probe against him for allegedly granting undue favours to firms involved in illegal mining in lieu of donations to a charitable trust run by his kin.

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A Special Forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia directed the probe agency to carry out the probe uninfluenced by the stature of the person and political clout and corporates involved in the case and file its report by August 3.
    
The bench, also comprising justices Aftab Alam and Swatanter Kumar, stayed all pending proceedings before all judicial forums in connection with the case.
    
The Apex Court accepted the April 20 report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which had pointed out several allegations against Yeddyurappa and corporate entities involving Jindals and Adanis and had recomended a CBI probe.
    
The court also asked the Andhra Pradesh government to cooperate with the CBI in the investigation. The April 20 report prepared by the CEC in pursuance of the Apex Court's February 10 order, said there was a scope for expanding the CBI probe against the BJP leader and annexed the documents to support its findings.
    
The CEC had recommended CBI probe considering the "massive illegalities and illegal mining" found in Karnataka and allegations against the Jindal Group as being "recipient of large quantities of illegally mined material and undue favour being shown to them".
    
Yeddyurappa's counsel and senior advocate V Giri had earlier argued that merely on the basis of the CEC report, the probe cannot be handed over to the CBI as the Lokayukta police was seized of the matter and the former Chief Minister had got a relief from the Karnataka High Court against which an appeal is pending before the apex court.
    
The CEC recommendation for the CBI probe was also opposed by JSW Steel Ltd on the ground that the matter was pending with the state's law enforcing agencies. The court had earlier this month asked Yeddyurappa to place before it all relevant evidential material along with a note to counter the CEC documents, which "prima facie made out a case for investigation" against him and his kin for alleged "irregularities" and "illegalities" in the mining activities.

The CEC report had found evidence of huge payment made to the trust run by Yeddyurappa's sons and his family received "windfall profits" in land deals in Bangalore involving big mining companies including those of Jindals and Adanis.

The report said the Prerana Education Society "set up by the close relatives of the then Chief Minister, Karnataka" had during March, 2010 received donations of Rs 10 crore from South West Mining Limited, a Jindal Group company, despite its own profit for 2009-10 being only Rs 5.73 crore.
    
"In this context it is of interest to note that during the year 2009-2010 the net profit (after tax) of the said company was only Rs 5.73 crore," the report had said, adding such a large donation were not made by the company or by any other Jindal group firm to any other trust or society, not owned, managed or controlled by the Jindal Group.
    
The report said a Bangalore land deal involved "serious violations of relevant acts and procedural lapses and prima facie misuse of office by the then Chief Minister, Karnataka thereby enabling his close relatives to make windfall profits and raises grave issues relating to undue favour, ethics and morality".

The CEC report had also recommended CBI probe into the "linkages, if any, between the donation of Rs 10 crore made by South West Mining Ltd (to Yeddyurappa's kin's trust) and the alleged receipt of illegal mineral by JSW Steel Ltd and the alleged undue favour shown to it in respect of the mining lease of MML (Mysore Minerals Ltd)".
    
It also recommended probe that Parveen Chandra, a mining lessee, had made two payments of Rs 6 crore to companies whose directors were close relatives of Yeddyurappa, as a "quid pro quo for allotment of the mining lease".
    
"It is recommended that this court may consider directing the investigating agency such as CBI to investigate payments made by the lessee to these two companies whose directors/ shareholders are the close relatives of the then Chief Minister of Karnataka and whether there was any link between such payments and grant of mining lease to Parveen Chandra," it said.

(Agencies)

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