Relief for Yeddyurappa: K’taka HC orders interim stay on ‘audiogate’ probe

BJP Karnataka Chief BS Yeddyurappa had approached the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.
Relief for Yeddyurappa: K’taka HC orders interim stay on ‘audiogate’ probe
Relief for Yeddyurappa: K’taka HC orders interim stay on ‘audiogate’ probe

In a relief to former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, the Kalburgi bench of the Karnataka High Court on Friday issued an interim stay order on investigation and further proceedings against him and others in the recent audiogate scandal. The High Court had on Wednesday reserved its order after Yeddyurappa and others sought to quash the FIR in the case.

Yeddyurappa’s advisor and co-accused in the case, Marakal told TNM, “I just heard from our lawyer, the High Court has issued an interim stay in the case.” The development comes after Yeddyurappa along with his co-accused, had already obtained anticipatory bail from a special Bengaluru court on Saturday in connection with the case.

Yeddyurappa, fellow party MLAs Shivanagouda, Preetham Gowda and Yeddyurappa’s advisor Marakal have been booked by Devdurga Police Station in Raichur district under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The FIR was registered on February 11 based on a complaint by Sharanagouda, son of Gurmitkal MLA Naganagouda Kandkur.

A separate Special Investigative probe ordered by Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar and formed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is also set to take place in the coming days.

‘Audiogate scandal’

On February 8, in the morning ahead of presenting the state budget, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had called a press meet. In a sensational claim, the CM along with Sharangouda released an audio tape where Yeddyurappa is allegedly heard offering bribes to convince Sharangouda’s father to resign as an MLA as part of a bid to dislodge the coalition government. The conversation took place in Yadgir Circuit House, claimed Sharanagouda in the press conference.

While Yeddyurappa had initially denied even meeting Sharanagouda in the Yadgir Circuit House in the early hours of February 8, he later admitted to being present there but claimed that the audio was doctored.

While the BJP in the state has maintained the audio to be doctored, the CM himself has taken credit for the tape as his way of ensuring the stability of his government in the light of alleged poaching attempts by the BJP.

The issue was discussed in the Lok Sabha as well with Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge and former PM HD Deve Gowda criticising the BJP on February 11. Congress MPs had also staged a protest on the same day holding placards in front of the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex against the alleged political “horse trading”.

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