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Yeddyurappa gets bail after 21 days in jail

Bangalore: After 21 days behind bars in two corruption cases, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was released on bail Tuesday evening.

Justice B.V. Pinto of the high court granted bail Tuesday morning in the second case on the condition that Yeddyurappa furnishes a bond for Rs.500,000, two sureties for the same amount each, refrain from tampering with evidence and participate in trial court proceedings against him in the two cases.

The leader was granted bail in the first case Nov 3 on the same conditions.

Several ministers, legislators and hundreds of supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in south India greeted him with a huge garland as he came out of Bangalore’s central prison in Parappana Agrahara.

A beaming Yeddyurappa, clad in his trade-mark white safari suit, was received by his sons B.Y. Raghavendra, a BJP Lok Sabha member, and B.Y. Vijayaendra, excise minister P. Renukacharya, industries minister Murgesh Nirani and several BJP lawmakers.

The former chief minister told reporters at the jail premises that he had bowed to the court orders and had gone to jail. “Now the same court has given me bail,” he said.

“I am happy to be freed on bail. It’s Diwali for me. I am grateful to my family, supporters and party leaders for having stood by me all these days,” Yeddyurappa said before leaving with his family members in a convoy of five cars to his official residence on Race Course Road in city centre, about 15 km from the jail.

On the way, he prayed at a temple devoted to Lord Shiva.

His supporters burst crackers and shouted slogans expressing solidarity with the 68-year-old BJP leader who was sent to jail Oct 15 by the special Lokayukta (ombudsman) court judge N.K. Sudhindra Rao after rejecting his bail plea.

Yeddyurappa spent only a few hours in jail Oct 15. He was shifted to a hospital after he complained of chest pain.

He spent three days in two hospitals and went back to jail Oct 19 after media and opposition parties slammed what was seen as an attempt to avoid jail stay.

He is facing three more corruption and illegal land deals cases and has sought anticipatory bail in them.

The five cases were filed in January by two Bangalore advocates, Sirajin Bhasha and N.K. Balaraj, after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj granted them permission to launch criminal proceedings against Yeddyurappa.

He, his two sons, son-in-law, former minister S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty, BJP lawmaker Hemachandra Sagar and several others are accused of conspiring to free from official control government land, a process called denotification, around Bangalore in return for monetary gain.

The denotification helps in many ways as the government pays less amount to acquire land.

People who get back their land can sell it at market price and pay part of it to people who helped the denotification as quid-pro-quo.

If politicians are interested in that piece of land, they use the clout to get it denotified and acquire it at low price brow-beating the original owners. They retain it for personal use or make money by selling it at market price.

Shetty, who was arrested along with Yeddyurappa Oct 15, was also granted bail. He is an accused in one of the two cases for which the former chief minister was arrested.

All others accused in the five cases have got bail and were not arrested.

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