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Enough evidence to prosecute Maya: CVC
Overrules opinion of CBI chief, AG
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 22
Overruling the opinion of the CBI Director and the Attorney-General, recommending the closure of the politically sensitive Rs 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and a minister in her Cabinet, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) today told the Supreme Court that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute them.

In a voluminous report, presented before a Bench of Ms Justice Ruma Pal, Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice S.H. Kapadia, the CVC said apart from Ms Mayawti and her former Cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui, prosecution proceedings should be launched against former UP Environment Secretary R.K. Sharma, IIPL Managing Director Kamal Radhu and two other officials Rajendra Prasad and M. Sharma as there was enough material against them.

The report submitted by the CVC counsel in a sealed cover, however, gave a clean chit to former Union Environment Secretary K.C. Mishra, former U P Chief Secretary D.S. Bagga, Ms Mayawati’s the then Principal Secretary P.L. Punia, another former state Environment Secretary V.K. Gupta, former National Construction Corporation Chairman-cum-Managing Director S.C. Bali and another official A.K. Bose.

Though some middle and lower rank investigating officers (IOs) of the CBI had recommended the prosecution of Ms Mayawati and others, the agency’s top officers, including its Director K.S. Mishra, had opined that “prima facie” no case was made out against them.

This was done amid public utterances of Ms Mayawati, an ally of the UPA, that she was framed up in the case during the NDA regime at the instance of the BJP.

Today’s findings of the CVC is seen as a major setback to the BSP leader. Since some IOs had recommended prosecution, the CBI Director had sought the opinion of the Attorney-General (AG), who had opined that no prima facie case was made out to go ahead with the prosecution.

As Ms Mayawati’s counsel sought to challenge the powers of the CVC to overrule the opinion of the CBI and the Attorney-General, the Bench told him that the matter was referred to the commission for its opinion only when the Union Government had claimed “privilege to AG’s report and had not placed it before us.”

The court, however, allowed the request to implead Ms Mayawati as a party to the PIL to address a limited question of law whether the CVC could overrule the findings of the CBI and it could issue direction to the agency regarding the investigation of a case. The former Chief Minister was directed to move a formal application in this regard within a week.

Since her request to be a party in the matter was allowed, the court further said that the others against whom the CVC had recommended prosecution, could also become parties to the PIL and move similar applications.

The court made it clear that the former Chief Minister and the others would be permitted only to raise an issue regarding the commission’s power and not to question the merit of the case as that was the subject matter for the prosecution to decide.

The court said in respect of those persons against whom the CVC had said there was no evidence to launch prosecution, the CBI could take further appropriate action.


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