CBI seeks Supreme Court’s sanction to try Mayawati

July 10th, 2008 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to file a charge-sheet against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for owning assets far exceeding her legal income. In an affidavit filed in the apex court registry, the CBI said it has enough evidence to prosecute the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief for owning various moveable and immovable assets far exceeding her known and legal income.

Senior law officers of the government told IANS that the CBI filed the affidavit Thursday evening.

They indicated that in its affidavit the CBI has apprised the apex court of all the evidence it has gathered against Mayawati.

The Supreme Court Thursday issued notice to the central government on Mayawati’s plea to scrap the corruption case, registered by the CBI.

The CBI filed its affidavit four days before the apex court was to take up for hearing a lawsuit by Mayawati, questioning the agency’s earlier step to lodge a corruption case against her.

On Mayawati’s lawsuit, a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice M.K. Sharma had May 15 issued notice to the CBI asking it why should the case against her not be quashed.

While seeking replies from the CBI, the bench had adjourned the hearing on Mayawati’s plea to July 14.

During the brief hearing, the government law officers had told the court that they would not file a charge-sheet against the chief minister without satisfying the apex court of the merits of the evidence against her.

In her petition for scrapping the case, Mayawati alleged that the CBI probe against her was aimed at her “character assassination” and the central government was misusing the agency for settling political scores.

The CBI had registered a first information report (FIR) against Mayawati Oct 5, 2003, on the direction of the apex court which had ordered it to investigate the financial irregularities in a project.

The Taj Corridor scam, as it came to be known, involved grant of an entire stretch of land free of cost to Jaypee Industries to construct an eight-lane Taj Expressway to link Agra with New Delhi. To complete the project initiated by the Mayawati government in its earlier tenure, the state government had given the land, waiving stamp duty worth about Rs.500 million.

The contractor was also given the exclusive rights to construct commercial hubs along the expressway.

In her petition to the apex court, Mayawati had contended that the FIR was illegal as no sanction was taken from the state and the agency had misinterpreted the apex court order which only directed investigation into the Taj Corridor case.

“Lodging the FIR and conducting investigation into her assets is beyond the purview of the Taj Heritage Corridor case and is a direct onslaught on her fundamental rights,” her petition said, adding: “Keeping the sword of investigation hanging has seriously impaired her political journey.”

“The premier investigation agency has unfortunately been used as a tool by the central government by lodging the illegal FIR so as to harass her and proceeding of which are creating obstructions in the smooth running of the government in the state,” said the petition.

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