BENGALURU: In a big relief to three BJP leaders, including former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday allowed their petitions challenging the criminal proceedings pending against them before the Lokayukta Special Court in three different cases.
Justice Anand Byrareddy discharged Naidu, the first accused in the multi-crore ITASCA land scam, by allowing the criminal revision petition challenging the Lokayukta proceedings. While quashing the proceedings against Naidu, Justice Byrareddy observed that material support of the case and further narration of sequences do not indicate a direct demand or receipt of illegal gratification by Naidu from any party. As far as illegal allotment of land is concerned, the judge observed that allotment was made by State High-Level Clearance Committee.
“The prima facie charge of conspiracy would fail as proceedings against Srinivas, Managing Director of ITASCA company, who was accused No.3 in the case, was already quashed by the high court in March 2016. Also, Basavapoornaiah, Chairman of UTL, who was accused No. 6 is dead,” the judge said.
On charges relating to extending undue favour to ITASCA, the judge said it is vague and could not lead to framing of any charge. The judge expressed surprise as to why corporate bodies of ITASCA and UTL were not named in the chargesheet.
The Special Lokayukta Court had rejected Naidu’s discharge application on April 29, 2013. He then moved the High Court challenging the said order.
The court also quashed the proceedings against M Gopi, former Corporator of BBMP and accused No.9, in connection with the ITASCA case and discharged from it.
In another case, Justice Anand Byrareddy quashed the criminal proceedings pending against Dasarahalli MLA S Muniraju, who was accused of grabbing private land.
K Ranganathaiah, then special tahasildar, Bengaluru North, registered a case in connection with the disputed land at Kereguddadahalli in Chikkabanavara, Bengaluru.
Lastly, Justice Reddy also allowed the criminal petition filed by Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath who challenged the private complaint regarding disproportionate assets registered by Akhila Karnataka Police Mahasabha president Shashidhar and others.
In his petition, Vishwanath contended that sanction to prosecute him was rejected by the Speaker when the petitioner was an MLA earlier. Lokayukta court did not act on case for six months thereafter and took cognisance in June 2013 after his earlier term as MLA ended. He became an MLA again in 2013.