New Delhi/Bangalore, April 20 (IANS) In a severe setback to former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, a Supreme Court-appointed panel Friday recommended probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into kickbacks by mining companies to his family members.
The Central Empowered Committee on environmental matters, which has been probing massive illegal mining in Karnataka, also suggested probe into possible link between these payments and the grant of mining lease to a businessman, Praveen Chandra, during Yeddyurappa's tenure.
The committee presented its recommendation to the Supreme Court's forest bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia in New Delhi Friday.
In Bangalore, Yeddyurappa put up a brave front saying that it is only a recommendation and not a final order.
'I have full faith in the Supreme Court. I will get justice. The CEC has only made a recommendation. Final decision will be that of the Supreme Court,' he told reporters.
Yeddyurappa. BJP's first chief minister in Karnataka, was forced to quit July 31 last year after the then Lokaytukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde recommended his trial for bribery in a mining scam.
An NGO, Samaja Parivartana Samudaya, had submitted documents to the empowered committee seeking a CBI probe into charges that a trust run by Yeddyurappa's kin had benefited financially from mining companies in return for favours from Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyurappa's counsel had opposed such a probe on the ground that Karnataka High Court had on March 7 had set aside Hegde's report as 'bad in law' as principles of natural justice - that is giving an opportunity to Yeddyurappa to present his case - was not followed.
The CEC recommendation against Yeddyurappa has come at a time when he is mounting pressure on his party national leaders to re-instate him as the high court has set aside Hegde's report.
Yeddyurappa claims that BJP president Nitin Gadkari had promised to make him chief minister again as soon as he is cleared of mining bribery charges.
He also claims that his successor D.V. Sadananda Gouda had given his word that he will quit after being chief minister for six months. Gouda took over from Yeddyurappa Aug 4.
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