In a crucial legal battle, a division bench of the High Court of Karnataka is poised to hear the conclusive arguments on Wednesday regarding Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's appeal against the CBI probe sanction granted by the previous BJP government. Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing the CBI, and senior counsel Uday Holla, representing Shivakumar, are set to present their final arguments before Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and Vijayapura MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal has intervened in the appeal, challenging the state cabinet's decision to withdraw consent for the CBI investigation against Shivakumar, who also serves as the Congress state unit president. Yatnal's application contends that the state machinery is actively hindering the investigation, and he seeks to declare the withdrawal of consent as "void."
The Karnataka cabinet, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, recently deemed the BJP government's consent to a CBI investigation into the disproportionate assets case against Shivakumar as not legally sound. Consequently, the cabinet decided to withdraw the sanction provided to the central agency.
Shivakumar had earlier challenged the sanction in a single-judge bench, which dismissed his petition. Subsequently, he appealed to the division bench, which stayed the single judge's order. The CBI, in response, filed an application seeking the vacation of this stay. The Supreme Court directed the High Court to expedite the hearing on the CBI's application for stay vacation.
The origins of the case trace back to the Income Tax Department's search operations in Shivakumar's home and offices in 2017, leading to an Enforcement Directorate probe. Based on the ED investigation, the CBI sought sanction from the state government to file an FIR against Shivakumar, a sanction granted on September 25, 2019. The CBI subsequently filed an FIR against him on October 3, 2020. The court's decision will hold significant implications for the ongoing legal saga involving the Deputy Chief Minister.