Bangalore: Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj has sanctioned the prosecution of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa following several allegations of his involvement in land scams.
A Raj Bhavan communique said the sanction was accorded under Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. However, the communique did not mention about the petition filed by Lawyers Forum, which had also sought permission to prosecute Home Minister R Ashoka, alleging involvement in land denotification scam.
Reacting to the prosecution sanction, Yeddyurappa said the Governor is behaving as an agent of Congress and the JDS. "This is nothing but a broad day light murder of democracy and justice," he said. (Read: Press statement by Yeddyurappa)
The Chief Minister also wrote to the Governor protesting against the fact that he hasn't even been given a copy of the Governor's order. Not just that, Yeddyurappa says he doesn't even have a copy of the complaint on which the Governor's decision is based. (Read: Yeddyurappa's letter to the Governor following prosecution sanction)
Earlier this week, the Cabinet asked the Governor not to sanction the prosecution of the Chief Minister requested by a group of lawyers, who want to formally take up allegations of corruption against Mr Yeddyurappa. The Governor said the request by the cabinet was 'like a thief' requesting the police to not take action against him. (Read: 'Thief' remark by Governor angers Yeddyurappa) (Watch)
Following the prosecution sanction, the BJP has said the Governor is acting like the prosecutor himself and have called for a Karnataka bandh tomorrow. (Read: BJP calls for a statewide bandh)
"The BJP strongly condemns as constitutionally improper and politically motivated the action of Governor of Karnataka in granting sanction for prosecution against the Chief Minister of Karnataka and his cabinet colleagues," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said. (Watch)
However, Karnataka Lokayukta (anti-corruption watchdog) Santosh Hegde says Governor H R Bhardwaj was within his rights to grant sanction to prosecute Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on corruption charges. (Watch)
"Legally speaking, the Governor has the power to grant or refuse sanction despite the cabinet's resolution. He is empowered to do so", he said.
"Though the Governor has to go by the advice of the cabinet, there are exceptions where he can act independently and should act independently", he said, citing earlier rulings.
(With PTI inputs)