Jun 06, 2007 at 12:32am IST

Wah Taj! Maya gets away scot-free

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has all reasons to smile.

Just a month after taking over the reins of India’s largest state, the noose of the Taj heritage corridor scam – that hung around her for many years - has been cut once and for all.

After the CBI sought permission to prosecute her, UP Governor T V Rajeshwar said that she cannot be prosecuted.

The CBI had claimed before Supreme Court that the BSP leader – in capacity of the state’s chief minister in 2002 - had sanctioned Rs 175 crore for the Taj corridor plan in violation of regulations.

But the Governor seemed to question the very basis of the allegation.

Mayawati took the favourable opportunity to lash out at her political detractors in a press conference. “All opposition parties made this an election issue. What Rs 175 crore scam are they talking about? When we only released Rs 17 crore what is the Rs 175 crore scam?” she asked.

The fact that the Rajeshwar has, in the past, been accused of being close to the Congress only led the Opposition to suggest that this was an attempt by the Centre to bail Mayawati out.

The Opposition concurs than in return for this favour, Mayawati will support the UPA during Presidential elections.

“The governor has refused to take action and this is a legal matter. We will react to this. But as far as BJP stand goes, we want to remind her that she shouldn’t forget history,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

The Congress for its part denies that it has struck a quid pro quo with Mayawati to allow her to get away with charges of corruption.

With the Governor stepping in on her side, Mayawati is clearly enjoying the benefit of a golden rule in Indian politics: once in power, the system will protect you.

<table width="248" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2"> <tr bgcolor="#AE111D"> <td height="20" valign="middle" bgcolor="#DB1524"><div align="center"><strong class="Wtext11">CORRIDOR OF HISTORY</strong></div></td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>Aug 2002:</b> Mayawati government approves construction near Taj Mahal.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>May 2003:</b> Supreme Court stays construction, but work continues.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>July 2003:</b> Supreme Court asks CBI to probe the construction near Taj Mahal.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>July 2003:</b> CBI team finds prima-facie case for corruption against Mayawati.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>Aug 2003:</b> CBI files FIR against 11 people including Mayawati.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>Aug 2003:</b> Mayawati resigns as UP chief minister.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>Aug 2004:</b> CBI director overturns findings of his team in SC.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>Aug 2004:</b> SC reprimands CBI, sends case to CVC for investigation.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>May 2005:</b> CVC says there is clear evidence of corruption.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>May 2007:</b> File seeking sanction for prosecution of Mayawati sent by Mulayam Singh Yadav to Governor before counting of votes.</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="248" height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /><b>May 2007:</b> Mayawati becomes UP Chief Minister.</td> </tr></table>
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