FIR in disproportionate assets case illegal: Mayawati (Second Lead)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NEW DELHI - Accusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of discrimination, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Wednesday claimed in the Supreme Court that the disproportionate assets case filed against her was “baseless, unfounded and illegal”.

“Obvious political motivations have led the CBI to adopt double standards in dealing with identical DA (disproportionate assets) cases against me and those against (Samajwadi Party leader) Mulayam Singh Yadav and (former railway minister) Lalu Prasad,” she said in a strongly argued 230-page affidavit submitted in the apex court.

The disproportionate assets case was an offshoot of the Taj Corridor case, involving alleged plans of building a giant commercial hub on the other bank of the Yamuna river in the backdrop of the 17th century monumental wonder Taj Mahal.

It was during the course of the investigations in 2002 that CBI decided to register a disproportionate assets case against Mayawati, her then environment minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, then state chief secretary D.S. Bagga and environment secretary R.K. Sharma, besides a few central government officials.

The state government denied permission to initiate prosecution proceedings against the bureaucrats involved.

Then governor T.V. Rajeshwar followed course and turned down sanction for Mayawati’s prosecution. Subsequently, the CBI roped in Mayawati in a disproportionate assets case.

Refuting the CBI claim that the first information report (FIR) registered against her in the case was on the apex court’s direction, Mayawati said: “The Supreme Court did not pass any order to lodge a FIR in the DA case against me. The order pertained only to the Taj Corridor case.”

She also pointed out that the apex court had already de-linked the assets case from the main Taj Corridor case.

“The apex court also did not find anything wrong with the utilization of Rs.17 crore disbursed by the state government in the name of the Taj Corridor,” she asserted, while questioning the very basis of the assets case.

According to Mayawati, “while CBI was particular about seeking legal examination of the charges against Lalu Prasad Yadav, following which prosecution proceedings were dropped against him, the investigating agency chose to proceed directly against me by lodging a FIR.”

Citing a similar case against Mulayam Singh Yadav, she said: “After seeking the then solicitor general’s advice, the CBI did not club the income of Mulayam’s family members, but in my case, the incomes of all my close relatives was clubbed and shown as my income.”

Mayawati also wondered why legal opinion was not sought in her case, especially since “that very solicitor general was now occupying the coveted position of attorney general”.

She also drew the attention of the apex court to the “clean chit” given to her by the income tax authorities, with whom she had been regularly filing her returns.

“Both the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) as well as the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal did not find any discrepancy with my returns and upheld my entire income, which also included gifts from my supporters,” Mayawati pointed out, while arguing that “as such, the CBI was clearly over-stepping its authority to dispute the legitimacy of such income that was duly accepted by the IT department”.

Citing a long list of judgments in support of her contentions, she added that the CBI was bound by the findings of the income tax authorities.

“Hence, it would be in the fitness of things for the CBI to close the bogus DA case against me,” Mayawati asserted.

About a dozen cases were pending against Mayawati or her government in the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court, largely on account of her fad for construction of memorials and installation of statues on public land, acquired after pulling down government buildings.

Most of these cases had arisen due to Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed by lawyers and citizens.

Filed under: Politics

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