The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to take up a petition by Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and former state Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani against the restoration of a criminal case against them.
The court however said that it will not override the Karnataka High Court's order which had allowed the case to be restored earlier this month. The case pertains to an accusation against the duo for not honouring a commitment to grant 26 acres of land to a private investor in 2011.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, representing Yediyurappa, sought protection from arrest. Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, remarked that Yediyurappa is a sitting Chief Minister and questioned who will issue a warrant against him. "They issue letter of request and not warrant," Bar and Bench quoted the CJI as saying.
To that, Rohatgi stated to the Supreme Court bench that the restoration of the case left the possibility of an arrest warrant open.
The case pertains to Alam Pasha, a businessman, who had alleged that he participated in an investors’ meet and proposed a Rs 600 crore housing project for which he was granted 26 acres of land in June 2010. The grant was later cancelled in March 2011. Yediyurappa was accused of forging documents in this case. The land in contention is in the Devanahalli Industrial Area in Bengaluru.
The case was later dismissed in 2016 by a Special Court after which Pasha filed a criminal petition before the High Court. The High Court set aside a part of the 2016 order passed in the Special Court and restored the complaint against Yediyurappa.
Murugesh Nirani, who held the industries portfolio in 2011, was appointed as the Minister of Mines and Geology in the state just last week. Following this, Alam Pasha held a press conference alleging Murugesh Nirani had blocked his company from executing the housing project in 2011 and alleged that he was “raided” recently at the behest of the minister. Nirani held a press conference of his own and claimed that the land was still available and Pasha was not blocked in 2011.