New Delhi: In a major relief for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in a decade old disproportionate assets case, the Supreme Court on Friday struck down criminal proceedings against her and passed an order that came as a major embarrassment for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Reacting to the judgement, an elated Mayawati said, "I wish to thank the Supreme Court. I have got justice in the end."
For the last 10 years, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief she has faced allegations of amassing wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income. Up to Rs 50 crore in 2007 from Rs three crore in 2003, the Supreme Court's order was like music to her ears.
It said, "The CBI proceeded against Mayawati without proper understanding of various orders of the Supreme Court, and the FIR is without jurisdiction and any investigation pursuant thereto is illegal and accordingly quashed."
However, in their defence, CBI sources presented a Supreme Court order dated October 2004.
The apex court had then said, "The CBI is at liberty to take action on the basis of their investigation in respect of FIR in DA case. The CBI will be entitled to take action on the basis of the investigations as it may think fit."
But to Mayawati's supporters, the order was long time coming. In 2011, the Income Tax tribunal had dismissed the entire DA case against her and the Delhi High Court had upheld that verdict as well.
The Supreme Court in Friday did not just handed down a victory for Mayawati but also criticised the CBI for exceeding its brief. This is not for the first time that the CBI role as an impartial investigating agency has come under the scanner. In the past, political parties have also alleged that the agency has acted at the behest of the central government.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is the other high profile politician who is facing the DA case verdict. A closure report has been filed in his case as well. But with Mulayam now getting increasingly close to the Centre, any trouble for him may still be a long way off.