BS Yeddyurappa
Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa

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 was accused of accepting kickbacks worth Rs 40 crore.

The BJP state president, his two sons, and his son-in-law, along with JSW Steel and their four Bellary-based affiliates, were accused of bribery, forgery, and cheating. They were charged under IPC sections 120-B (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) as also under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Karnataka Land (Restriction on) Transfer Act. The court acquitted all the accused.

"Justice is done, I stand vindicated," Yeddyurappa tweeted.

Yeddyurappa was forced to resign in August 2011 after former Karnataka Lokayukta and Supreme Court judge, Justice Santosh Hegde, indicted him for allowing illegal iron-ore mining in the mineral-rich district of Bellary. Justice Hegde had remarked that a mafia of politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists are running "The Republic of Bellary."

The former chief minister was jailed for three weeks in connection with the case before being given bail.

His acquittal is a significant victory for the BJP and its state president ahead of the 2018 Karnataka state elections. Yeddyurappa is still largely seen as the face of the party in the state.