Bangalore: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting raids at eight premises belonging to former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, his sons and others as part of its ongoing investigation into an illegal mining case.
The searches are being conducted in Bangalore and Shimoga. Apart from Mr Yeddyurappa snd his two sons - BY Raghavendra, who is the BJP MP from Shimoga, and BY Vijayendra - his son-in-law, Sohan Kumar's properties are also being searched, as is the residence of mining leaseholder R Praveen Chandra and office of the South West Mining Company Limited.
Today's raids come a day after the investigating agency filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Mr Yeddyurappa and the three others and formed a special nine-member team for the investigation. The CBI has booked the former chief minister for criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.
The main allegation against him is that as chief minister, he used his public office to grant undue favours to mining companies which, in turn, made huge "donations" to the Prerna Education Society run by his family members.
Last week, the Supreme Court had ordered the CBI to investigate allegations of nepotism and illegal land acquisition against Mr Yeddyurappa.
The top court order came as a big blow to the BJP leader's political plan of being reinstated as the chief minister of Karnataka, a post he had to give up last year when he was indicted by the state Lokayukta in illegal mining cases.
Mr Yeddyurappa, who still enjoys much support in the state BJP is upset at the lack of support from his party's central leadership. He has held the sword of a split in the party over the BJP's head for some time now, periodically flexing political muscle. He did that earlier this week, claiming that he had the support of about 70 of the BJP's 121 MLAs, 40 of whom had handed resignation letters to him.
At a press conference, an aggressive Me Yeddyurappa lashed out at present Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda, questioning his leadership and governance. Mr Gowda was hand-picked by Mr Yeddyurappa as his successor last year, but the protege has since come into his own.
Mr Yeddyurappa wants him removed and now wants the head of the government to be picked from his Lingayat community, but the BJP's top leadership is adamant that there will be no change of guard in Karnataka.
Mr Yeddyurappa has blamed the current crisis in the Karnataka branch of the BJP on Mr Gowda and political opponents KS Eshwarappa, who is the party chief in the state, and senior leader Ananth Kumar. He also said that he has been betrayed because the BJP has failed to deliver on its promise to reinstate him as chief minister.