New Delhi: In a breather to BSP supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed a CBI probe against her in the disproportionate assets case and also pulled up the CBI for initiating the probe against her without specific directions from the court.
The court said that the CBI should not have lodged an FIR against Mayawati as there was no direction from it. "We are satisfied that we didn't issue any direction to probe alleged disproportionate assets of Mayawati between 1995-2003," the court said.
The apex court observed that the CBI FIR was unwarranted and the central agency proceeded without understanding its order in the Taj corridor case. "The CBI proceeded against Mayawati without properly understanding our order. Anything beyond Taj Corridor scam was not subject matter of this court. There is no finding and no material report pertaining to the DA case against Mayawati," the court said.
A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam clarified that the Supreme Court order pertained to initiating probe against state government officials in the scam and there was no such direction to lodge another FIR exclusively against Mayawati for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.
The apex court said there is no finding in the CBI's status report of September 2008 that Mayawati had allegedly amassed disproportionate assets during the period 1995-2003. "There is no material report of disproportionate assets case against the petitioner (Mayawati) in the Taj Corridor scam," the bench said while referring to the probe agency's status report.
The court further said that its order of 2002 was specifically pertaining to Taj Corridor case and there was no direction for lodging an FIR against Mayawati as was done by the CBI.
While reading out the operative part of its judgment, the bench observed there was "no such direction to lodge another FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act exclusively against Mayawati".
Lawyer and Mayawati's confidante Satish Mishra said the CBI filed the FIR under pressure from the then BJP government. "We welcome the court order. CBI had filed a wrong FIR nine years ago against Mayawati. The court has called all the CBI proceedings against Mayawati unwarranted. It said that CBI had gone beyond his jurisdiction," he said.
While blaming the CBI for the court’s order in favour of Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh said, "The CBI was a bit lax in its investigation and handling of the case. Had it taken more efforts, the Supreme Court wouldn't have given such a verdict."
Mayawati had filed a petition in May 2008 seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the DA case, lodged by the CBI over eight years ago.
She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta against her.
A bench headed by P Sathasivam had reserved its judgment on May 1 after two-hour-long hearing during which the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had accused the CBI of "fixing" the DA case against her, a charge refuted by the agency.
Mayawati had said the bench should direct the CBI to consider the aspect of order passed by the Income Tax Tribunal holding that her income was genuine and the order had also been upheld by the Delhi High Court.
The CBI had said there was "ample evidence" to show that she had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.
Mayawati had claimed she had received the money as donations from party workers.
Questioning Mayawati's assets, the CBI had said her declared assets of Rs one crore in 2003 had gone up to Rs 50 crore in 2007.
The CBI, in its last affidavit filed on September 13, 2011, had alleged there was a "criminal nexus" between Mayawati and her relatives and the disproportionate assets case against her cannot be closed on the basis of conclusions arrived at by the Income Tax Department.
The agency had rejected Mayawati's stand that the DA case should come to an end after the income tax authorities accepted her income tax assessments.
(With additional inputs from PTI)