Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and three others were acquitted by a CBI court on Wednesday in relation to the Bellary illegal mining case.
Yeddyurappa, JSW Steel and his sons are among the accused in the Rs 40-crore bribery case.
It is alleged that the bribe was paid for a grant of official favours during Yeddyurappa's tenure as the Chief Minister between 2008 and 2011.
He resigned as chief minister in July 2011 after the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Facing humiliation from his own party to which he gave his 40 years, BS Yeddyurappa quit BJP on 30 November 2012, and formally launched the Karnataka Janata Paksha, a year before the Assembly elections in Karnataka.
In a judgement delivered at a packed court hall, judge R B Dharmagouder also exonerated nine other accused in the kickbacks case which had cost Yeddyurappa his chief ministership in 2011 following indictment by the then Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde. After his party KJP merged with the BJP in January 2014 in the run-up to the parliamentary polls, h successfully contested the parliamentary election from Shimoga. Yeddyurappa, who vowed to demolish the BJP for what it did with him, succeeded in his mission. I have been vindicated by this verdict.
The judge also said there was no proof that Yeddyurappa's kin had influenced him to favour JSW Steel or that former minister Krishnaiah Shetty had abetted them to create a forged NOC to be issued by BDA for denotification of land.
Yeddyurappa's son B Y Raghavendra said "baseless" charges were made against their family with a "political motive". Yeddyurappa was not interested in the offer of a ministry since it will mean losing his grip on state politics. The Congress rode on negative sentiments against the BJP to return to power. But the party's central leadership in all likelihood will relax the 75 years' rule for him. During the trial, Yeddyurappa was asked 473 questions.
The State's political scene is expected to hot up now and the current Congress chief minister, Siddaramaiah will finally have a powerful rival to contend with.
At the same time, several senior leaders in the BJP are wondering if the acquittal would make Mr. Yeddyurappa more "aggressive and unilateral" when it comes to making decisions related to the party organisation, as already a section of the leaders has publicly expressed dissatisfaction over his style of functioning and accused him of failing to make collective decisions.