LKA’s Blore rally cancelled

The mnuch hyped L K Advani rally at Bangalore as part of his anti corruption yatra has been cancelled. Although the rally at Bangalore has been cancelled the yatra would however pass through Mangalore and Udupi as per schedule.
No official reason for the cancellation of the rally has been given as yet. However sources say that the cancellation is largely due to the major corruption charges against most BJP ministers in the state.
The rally was planned amidst much fanfare but it started looking gloomy the moment B S Yeddyurappa was arrested on corruption charges. However at that point in time there was no plan to cancel the rally. But today the Home Minister R Ashok too finds himself in the dock. This has become an embarassing situation for the BJP as there is pressure mounting on the Home Minister to step down.
Advani’s yatra revolves arounf corruption and in such an event it would not have been right to have a rally in Bangalore. Advani would now head directly to Mangalore and Udupi in coastal Karnataka.

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Yeddy back to jail-Ashok in the dock

The Special Lokayukta Court has extended the judicial custody of former Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa to November 3. The court had taken up the hearing today indicated that it would take up the matter next on November 3 which would mean that the judicial custody of Yeddyurappa is automatically extended to that date.
The court also heard the bail pleas of 21 other accused in the case which include B Raghavendra and B Vijyendra who are the sons of Yeddyurappa. The court stated that it would hear their plea too on November 3. However the court directed all of them not to leave the country and surrender their passports before the court.
Yeddyurappa’s battle will now continue before the High Court on Monday. The High Court which has been hearing the bail plea adjourned hearing on the matter to Monday.
In other developments the Lokayukta police have commenced investigations against Home Minister R Ashok. An FIR has already been filed by the police in connection with a case where he denotified lands measuring 9 and 14 acres.
There is pressure mounting on Ashok to quit his ministry, but he has refused to do so stating that he would fight it out legally.
Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda too has been mum about the ouster of his home minister. He infact left for New Delhi to discuss this issue with the central leadership.

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Jayaa’s questioning remains incomplete

The J Jayalalithaa trial will be back in the Supreme Court now. As per the verdict of the Supreme Court the questioning should have been completed in two days but the Special Court was unable to complete the process today.
Jayalalaithaa’s statements were being recorded for a second day in a row. However even after asking her 570 questions the process was not completed today. The Supreme Court had made it clear that the questioning be completed in two days.
Her lawyer Kumar informed that they would now move the Supreme Court seeking a directive as what needs to be done in such an event. The Supreme Court would now have to give a fresh date so that the process of recording the statements are completed.
Meanwhile the Special Court at Bangalore has adjourned further hearing on the matter to November 8th.

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Yeddy bail plea adjourned

The Karnataka High Court on Friday adjourned hearing on a bail plea filed by B S Yeddyurappa. Justice B Pinto who has been hearing arguments since yesterday said he would take up the matter for further hearing on Monday.
The former Chief Minister of Karnataka who was remanded in judicial custody last saturday moved the High Court seeking bail. He filed this appeal against the order of the Special lokayukta Court which cancelled his bail and issued an arrest warrant against him.
His counsels have been arguing that the complaint against their client is bad in law.

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All is not lost against Rana

India’s case against Tawwahur Rana and David Headly are in a limbo since there has been no decision whatsoever on whether a team of the National Investigating Agency would be sent to question them. Looking at what has been going on, there is absolutely no progress on this front andIndiafinds it is to be a wasted exercise to send any team now to interrogate Rana.

When the trial against Rana was onIndiawas hopeful that he would be convicted on the charges against him in the 26/11 attacks. However Rana faced a conviction only in relation to the Danish newspaper case and was acquitted in the 26/11 case.

NIA sources say that have the required evidence against Rana but cannot proceed any further since he has not been questioned by them directly. There was a process that had commenced to interrogate Rana but it has been put on hold as of now since they believe it would be a waste of time to interrogate him. He would not speak anything as of now since he has an acquittal in the case.

However these delays are also contributing to a delay in the filing of the chargesheet also. The NIA wants to club both the Headley and Rana cases together and does not want to file separate chargesheets. Headley would be the prime accused while Rana the second. It makes no sense to file separate chargesheets in the case. Filing separate chargesheets would only mean that the trial would be delayed since the case would have to come up before the court twice.

However going by the investigation it appears that the case against Headley is much stronger when compared to Rana. The NIA has been probing various aspects to the case and initially there were plenty of intercepts regarding Rana’s travel withinIndia. However it was found that he was just aiding Headley and has not undertaken any other operation on his own as had been claimed before.

The case against Headley has already been built up, but against Rana there is still a long way to go. All the details on Rana are based on the FBI probe against the man. This would mean that he NIA chargesheet would rely heavily on the FBI case. The NIA will now seek material evidence against Rana from theUSand would build up the case based on that.

This process is likely to take another couple of months since there is still some material which is required in the Rana case. However theUSmay take sometime to share this material since the appeal against Rana in the 26/11 case is underway and only once that is complete will they share this material.

However the bigger question is whetherIndiatoo would drop its case against Rana if  theUScourt acquits him in the appeal. The NIA says that would not be the case and in such an event they would proceed with the material on record and would also give it a shot at questioning him. At the moment we are just waiting for the appeal to get over and only then make the next move.

NIA sources say they do understand that there has been a delay in this case. We are dependant to a certain extent on another country and hence things do not move at the pace we want it to. However we will ensure that the chargesheet is filed by January next year and there will be no further delays on that. It is not a grim situation in so far as the 26/11 case. There are just some glitches regarding Rana, but the main person in this case is Headley and there is a water tight case against him. Those persons who he dealt with are all expected to cooperate during the trial and will be marked as witnesses. Hence it is not as though the entire case is reliant only on the information from theUSsince we too have our very own information on him to build up a very strong case, NIA sources also pointed out.

Yeddy made a fool out of the system

In Karnataka the crusade against corruption has reached an interesting level. The Lokayukta police in particular have gone hammer and tongs against every second person in power and the arrest of B S Yeddyurappa, former Chief Minister of Karnataka is an eye opener as to how the system is functioning in the state.

Apart from Yeddyurappa there are several other powerful persons who are under the storm in Karnataka. Krishnaiah Shetty, Katta Subramanya Naidu and now Home Minister R Ashok. All these persons are booked for denotifying lands and these cases are being probed by the Lokayukta police.

Justice Santhosh Hegde who actually set the ball rolling says he feels happy to see that there is some result in this crusade against corruption. I see this fight against corruption going well in Karnataka and there have been some positive developments in this regard. However I only hope that the judiciary does not play truant in this fight against corruption. Court would need to understand the gravity of the issues and deal very carefully on such matters. If the judiciary starts granting bail in all these cases then it would become very difficult to continue this battle against corruption.

In so far as Yeddyurappa, I really wish the court takes cognisance of his actions especially after he was sent to judicial custody. Look at the drama that took place after he was sent to judicial custody. It was nothing but mockery of the system and courts should deal firmly with this matter. He was doing nothing but fooling the system. Courts should view this very seriously. I don’t think he has much of a chance today. He has to face the mining case as well and the consequences should be the same as well in this case too.

Speaking of judicial activism, I think it should realise that these are serious matters at the end of the day. Don’t be under the misconception that these are all easily bailable offences. Basically the law states that offences punishable with two years or lesser sentence have a bail provision. Although corruption cases have a higher sentence they can be granted bail, but that is a discretion of the court. In my opinion when powerful personalities are involved it should not grant bail easily. There is a need to isolate them since they are capable of tampering with the evidence. While dealing with such matters the court should bear in mind that the normal course is jail and only in exceptions it is bail.

Speaking of corruption Justice Hegde also pointed out about the recent developments in the Anna Hazare camp. It is very sad that the team is falling out this way. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for this. I agree that we are all different kinds of people and we joined hands for a particular cause. You cannot expect all of us to have the same nature. The issue however is that each one is bringing in their personal views and this is causing an embarrassment to the team. Each one may have the right to express his opinion but should ensure that certain sensitive areas should not be touched as it does cause a great deal of embrassment. The team members should be careful while making statements. Also another issue that needs attention is the targeting of a political party. In my view it was not fair to do that. Our fight is against corruption and not a political party.

Relief for Kumaraswamy

There has been major relief for former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. The Karnataka High Court has quashed the complaints against him in connection with two cases relating to Vishwa Bhrathi and Janatakal mining. A case of corruption in this regard was filed against Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita.

The court also imposed cost of Rs 1 lakh on the complainant, Vinod Kumar who is a BJP worker. While passing the order, the court observed that the complaint was politically motivated and has been filed with a political vendetta. Further it also observed that the coginisance taken by the Lokayukta court against Kumaraswamy and his wife was without prior sanction under Section 197 of the Cr PC. It observed that this is mandatory under law and since the procedure was not followed it the complaint could not be sustained. Further the court also observed that the complainant did not make out an offence against Kumaraswamy and Anita and hence it was politically motivated in nature.
Meanwhile there has been no progress in the bail plea filed by B S Yeddyurappa. Arguments had been stalled yesterday and the matter was to be taken up today. However the court has not taken up that matter as yet.

Denotification bug hits BJP

The denotifcation bug has come to hit the Karnataka government yet again. Two more cases and this time Home Minister R Ashok is under the scanner.
The Lokayukta court directed the police to investigate him under Section 156 of the CrPC in connection with a denotification case. It is alleged that he had denotified land to the extent of 9 and 14 acres in the years 2003 and 2009. In this case B S Yeddyurappa has been made a second accused. the police will now file an FIR against him which could force Ashok to step down.
In nother development a case has also been filed against Murugesh Nirani, industries minister. Yeddyurappa is once again the second accused in this case.

Jaya tells court, I am not weak

She was calm and poised and despite her advocates telling the court that she is weak, she said she did not want any break.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had to spent an entire day in the court and tomorrow will be no different for her. Today she spent the entire day answering 380 questions in all posed to her by the prosecution. She still has another 1000 questions to be answered and that would continue tomorrow.

The proceedings began with her advocates saying that Jayalalithaa should be given a break every now and then since she is very weak. However she was quick to speak on her own and said that she is perfectly fine and would not need a break. She said that she would take part in the proceedings and there would be taking part in the trial.

One of the members present in the court the entire day informed that she was calm and cool all through the trial. Although it is mandatory that an accused stands while deposing, she was permitted to sit down and answer the questions. She did not throw any tantrums and spoke in a calm manner. On the whole she ensured that the proceedings were very smooth and there was no delay what so ever.

Jayalalithaa arrived in Bangalore this morning in grand style. In fact most of the police personnel in the city were missing as there were 1500 of them guarding her when she deposed before the court. The convoy which escorted her to court comprised 20 vehicles.

Security around the court hall was at an unprecedented high today and not a single person barring her legal team were allowed inside the court hall. There were a flurry of journalists and her supporters who waited outside the court. Some of her lawyers/supporters sought entry into the court, but they were prevented from doing so which eventually led to a minor skirmish.

Jayalalithaa neither interacted with her lawyers nor the media. During her lunch break she was escorted into her vehicle where she had her lunch before getting back to the court.

Yeddy’s bail plea

While B S Yeddyurappa may have to wait another day to find out if he would let out on bail or not, his sons however got some relief from the High Court which stayed two conditions imposed on them.

The Special Lokayukta court which had granted bail to Yeddyurappa’s sons, B Raghavendra and Vijeyendra had directed them to furnish details regarding their company and also their bank account details. The duo had challenged the same before the Karnataka High Court. Justice Pinto who heard the matter stayed these two conditions until further orders of the court.

Meanwhile the court heard arguments advanced by Yeddyurappa’s counsels at length. Yeddyurappa who had filed for bail after the Lokayukta court issued a warrant against him has in his interim prayer also sought interim bail. Arguments commenced at 11.30 Am today and went on till 4.45.

His counsels argued that the private complaint against Yeddyurappa itself was frivolous and hence the case should not survive. Further they also argued that it was unfair for the court to reject his bail based on a private complaint.

Further it was argued that the denotification of land which is the issue in this case was an administrative action which was taken by the Chief Minister. Hence it was not bad in law. The last point of argument today was that it was unfair on part of the Governor to bifurcate the sanction order. This meant that when a private complaint was filed the sanction for prosecution was to be given against the persons named in the complaint. However over 15 persons were made a party and this according to Yeddyurappa’s counsel was not meeting the ends of justice.

Although Yeddyurappa had been admitted in hospital immediately after his arrest there was no whisper about his health conditions which means they are not seeking his bail on health grounds.

The matter will continue tomorrow in the morning.