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Friday, July 12, 2024

‘BS Yediyurappa Can’t Be Arrested… Hearing’: Court

Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, accused of sex harassment of a minor, cannot be arrested until the next hearing in the case, the Karnataka High Court ruled today. The next hearing in the case is two weeks away.

The court also directed the veteran BJP leader to appear before the CID, which is probing the case, on June 17.

A non-bailable warrant was issued against Mr Yediyurappa, 81, on Thursday under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. The former Chief Minister’s son BY Raghvendra has asserted that there is “no truth” in the complaint.

The Special Investigation Team of the CID had moved the First Fast Track Court seeking an arrest warrant against Mr Yediyurappa since he failed to appear for questioning on Wednesday.

“The court cannot jump to the conclusion that a case is made out for arrest or detention or for custodial interrogation of the petitioner who happens to be the former Chief Minister of the state and in the late evening of his life with ailments natural to that age,” said the High Court.

According to police, Mr Yediyurappa has been charged under the POCSO Act and Section 354 A (Sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on a complaint from the mother of a 17-year-old girl on March 14.

The mother alleges that Mr Yediyurappa sexually assaulted her daughter during a meeting on February 2 this year, at his residence in Dollars Colony.

“I have placed it on record, she (the mother) is in the habit of filing cases. I have given details. Blackmailing is her avocation,” said Sandeep Patil, Mr Yediyurappa’s lawyer.

The 57-year-old woman who had filed the complaint against Mr Yediyurappa died of lung cancer at a private hospital last month.

“The action seems to be suspicious, a malafide one. A politically motivated one. He has always cooperated with the investigation. Notice was given earlier as well, he has participated. He has voluntarily written a letter to IO (Investigation Officer) that he is coming there and appearing on 17 (June). Despite this, the investigating agency raised a warrant, this raises serious doubts about their intention,” Mr Yediyurappa’s lawyer added.

The former Chief Minister claims the girl came to him seeking help with some cases of cheating. However, she didn’t speak to him properly, which gave him the idea that she may not be mentally sound, he said.

Mr Yediyurappa’s office has rubbished the allegations as baseless, accusing the mother and daughter of filing over 50 complaints in the past. A list put out by Mr Yediyurappa’s office showed 53 different complaints filed before.

The case has invited sharp reactions from both Congress and the BJP.

“Shocked by the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress leaders are engrossed in hatching one conspiracy after another against the BJP,” BJP Karnataka posted on X yesterday.

The post further added, “Congress, resentful towards the BJP, is now attempting to arrest our respected leader BS Yediyurappa, based on a complaint from a mentally unstable woman. This comes after Rahul Gandhi faced court proceedings for spreading misinformation against BJP in Karnataka.”

The Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara has ruled out any political angle in the case.

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