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CBI finds huge ‘donations’ to Taj Corridor scam accused
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 25
The CBI today informed the Supreme Court that huge cash donations were made to the accounts of the accused persons in the Rs 175 crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam, which included former Chief Minister Mayawati, but the agency has not been able to establish any link of these transactions with the case so far.

The submission to this effect was made by Solicitor-General G. E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre and the CBI after submitting the agency’s report in a sealed cover to the court into the disproportionate assets case, registered against the accused persons.

Besides Mayawati, the CBI had registered two FIRs in the case - one relating to the irregularities in the corridor project and another on DA - against former U P minister Nasimmuddin Siddiqui, former U P Chief Secretary D. S. Bagga, former Principal Secretary to Mayawati P. L. Punia, former state Environment Secretaries R. S. Sharma and V. K. Gupta, former Union Environment Secretary K. C. Mishra and former NPPC Chairman S. C. Bali.

A Bench of Ms Justice Ruma Pal, Mr Justice S. B. Sinha and Mr Justice S. H. Kapadia, allowed the CBI further time to investigate the matter, saying that if any link of the money was found to the Taj Corridor scam, the apex court will deal with it and if no such connection was found, then it would be open for the agency to take appropriate action in the matter as per the law.

After perusing the probe report, the court in its order noted that the CBI in the FIR, relating to the DA case, “while indicating large scale irregularities does not show any link of those with the Taj Corridor matter.”

The Bench made it clear that if the transactions were found to be linked to Taj Corridor case, the CBI would submit a further investigation report to the court.

While the Solicitor-General told the court that the matter regarding departmental proceedings against Mishra, who had taken voluntary retirement, had been referred to the Department of Personnel, U P Government counsel Ashok Desai said Bagga’s pensionary benefits had been stopped. The dismissal of R. S. Sharma had been recommended by the state administration and the disciplinary proceedings against P. L. Punia had not been completed, as the CBI had not provided the details about his role in the case.

The Solicitor- General told the court that in the second report the CBI had said Punia had taken decision in the Taj Corridor matter on his own stating that he had the “approval” from the Chief Minister.

But according to the statement of Ms Mayawati, she had not given approval to the project, he said adding that the CBI required at least six weeks’ time to complete the probe.

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