SC to hear plea against Mayawati afresh

SC to hear plea against Mayawati afresh

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to take a fresh look at a plea, seeking revival of a corruption case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in the Rs 17-crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam.

A bench of Justices H L Dattu and Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to Mayawati and her former cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui, seeking their replies within four weeks.

The court also sought response from the Centre, the CBI and the Uttar Pradesh government on a bunch of petitions filed against an Allahabad High Court order passed in November last. “We will examine this case. We want to take a second look at the matter,” the court said.

The petitions assailed the refusal by the governor to grant sanction for prosecuting the duo for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and under certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The bench brushed aside a contention made by senior advocate K K Venugopal, representing Mayawati, saying that it was for the fourth time that such petitions had been filed in the court.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the high court wrongly dismissed PILs on the ground that the CBI had failed to obtain sanction from the competent authority i e Governor, for prosecuting Mayawati and Siddiqui.

“The Supreme Court has in its judgement in Prakash Singh Badal case ruled that a prior sanction for prosecution was not required in a case where the alleged act was neither in discharge nor in purported discharge of official duties,” he said.

The petitioners pointed out that the probe agency had not challenged either the decision of the then governor refusing sanction for prosecution or an order by a special CBI court dropping the criminal proceedings against the two politicians.

The high court had confirmed an order passed by the special CBI court in June 2007.
The apex court had directed the CBI to conduct inquiry into alleged scam in the Taj project involving Rs 175 crore in a project launched by Mayawati in 2002 to beautify areas near the Taj Mahal.

After inquiry, it was  found that a sum of only Rs 17 crore was released for the project for which allegedly no environmental clearance was obtained.

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