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Mulayam’s assets: CBI to probe
SC order also puts kin under scanner
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 1
In a severe jolt to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav just before the Assembly elections in the state, the Supreme Court today ordered a CBI inquiry into his and his family members’ assets by way of preliminary inquiry and gave free hand to the Centre to take action based on the agency’s findings.

Besides Mulayam Singh, the inquiry will cover the assets of his son Akhilesh Yadav (MP), daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav and another son Prateek Yadav and the CBI was directed to find out whether the wealth acquired by them was in disproportionate to their known sources of income.

A Bench of Justice A.R. Lakshmanan and Justice Altamas Kabir directed the CBI to “submit a report to the Centre and on receipt of such report, the government might take further steps depending upon the outcome of the preliminary inquiry into the assets of the respondents.”

The court said “Mulayam Singh Yadav is a senior politician holding a very high public post of Chief Minister in a big state and the allegations... against him have cast a cloud on his integrity, therefore, in his own interest, it is of utmost importance that the truth… is determined by a competent forum. Such a course will sub-serve the public interest and public morality because the CM of a state should not function under a cloud.”

Inquiry by the CBI is a preliminary procedure of investigation in a case and if it comes across concrete evidence, then only a regular FIR is registered by it.

The order came on a PIL petition by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who had furnished a long list of movable and immovable properties of Mulayam Singh’s family which, according to the petitioner, was worth Rs 100 crore at the prevailing market value and had been allegedly acquired by him by “misusing” his position as public servant since 1977 while remaining in power in UP and at the Centre. However, Mulayam’s counsel had admitted that the net worth of the assets of Mulayam’s family was Rs 24 crore, which was not disproportionate to the known sources of his, his sons and daughter-in-law’s income.

During the hearing, the court had examined the income tax and wealth tax assessments of Mulayam Singh and the other three respondents for the past five years from 2001 to 2006, submitted in “sealed cover” at the request of the CM, expressing fear that the documents might be misused by his opponents. Besides, Mulayam had placed on record copies of the sale deeds of all properties in question also in the sealed cover.

The court ordered its registry to send the “sealed cover” documents to the CBI with a direction that the agency might take the assistance of chartered accountants, engineers and certified property valuers to evaluate the assets and proceed with the investigation “with an open mind” without being influenced by its order.

On the list of assets, Chaturvedi had cited at least 18 movable and immovable properties both registered and “benami” owned by Mulayam, 11 by Akhilesh, six by Dimple Yadav and two by Prateek Yadav. The assets include agriculture land, several plots, houses and bungalows, jewellery and investments.

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Prefers judicial review to CBI
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 1
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav would rather opt for judicial review than hand over a case to the CBI. This was the feeler given by senior SP leader and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ramgopal Yadav, while speaking to the media.

Yadav declared that his party had repeatedly expressed its lack of faith in the central investigation agency. “There are a number of instances when we have seen how the CBI was used by the central government to harass its political opponents,” he pointed out.

Referring to the three recent cases involving Ottavio Quattrocchi, Mayawati and Lalu Prasad, where the agency delayed matters, Yadav said the Congress had been after Mulayam Singh Yadav for quite some time now and today's Supreme Court direction has proved to be the last weapon in their armoury.

Lashing out at the media for reading more than required into today’s apex court directions, Yadav said the direction had not indicted the Chief Minister.

“The court had merely asked to conduct a preliminary investigation so as to clear doubts being created by those with vested interests,” asserted the MP.

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