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No relief for Mulayam Singh, son in assets case

New Delhi, Dec 13, 2012, DHNS 2:39 IST

SC refuses to modify earlier order, paves way for CBI probe

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to proceed with its probe against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in a disproportionate assets case.

A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and H L Dattu asked the probe agency to submit its report in an appropriate court, noting that the CBI was an “independent” body.

The court, however, dropped the probe against Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav, Kannauj MP, on the grounds that she was not holding any public office at the relevant time.

The Bench did not give any respite to Mulayam’s other son Prateek, facing similar charges in the case.

The Bench disposed of review petitions filed by Mulayam and Akhilesh challenging the apex court’s order of March 1, 2007, which had directed the CBI to probe the allegations of corruption against them and then file a report to the Union government.

The order had then come on a PIL filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who was called a Congress worker by the Yadavs.

The court now said, “we are modifying our order of March 1, 2007 to remove the error in it as the CBI was then directed to place the report before the government”.

The court had reserved its orders on February 17, last year on a bunch of review petitions filed by Mulayam, his sons Akhilesh and Prateek, and Dimple. In their review petitions, the Yadavs had challenged the court’s power to direct the CBI probe, contending that the order to start an inquiry would set a dangerous precedent, besides allowing political opponents to file false and frivolous petitions. They had described Chaturvedi’s petition as “politically-motivated”.

Disagreeing with their contention, the Bench referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench verdict, which had upheld the validity of courts’ powers to grant CBI probe, even without the consent of state governments with the only rider that such directions should be passed cautiously and sparingly.

The case has so far seen several curious changes of stand by the CBI. In 2007, as the Samajwadi Party lost power to the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, the CBI told the Supreme Court it had found prima facie evidence against the Yadavs to initiate a criminal investigation.

In 2008, the CBI sought an opinion of then Solicitor General of India G E Vahanvati, who suggested for closure of the probe against the Yadavs. Subsequently, it moved an application seeking withdrawal of its plea to register a regular case in the matter.

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