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SC quashes graft case against Maya
Terms CBI probe illegal, says it exceeded its jurisdiction
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6
In a major relief to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the Supreme Court today quashed a corruption case against her and pulled up the CBI for targeting her.

“The CBI exceeded its jurisdiction in lodging” an FIR against her on October 5, 2003, a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Dipak Misra held in their 36-page verdict on a petition filed by Mayawati in 2008 challenging the validity of the case.

The SC further ruled that all the investigation conducted by the CBI on the basis of the FIR was “illegal and liable to be quashed, accordingly quashed”.

The CBI had contended that it had registered the FIR on the basis of an apex court order on September 18, 2003. The court had passed the order on a PIL alleging a scam involving the release of Rs 17 crore without proper sanction for the Taj Heritage Corridor Project under the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) area at Agra.

In the 2003 order, the apex court had directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the alleged scam and interrogate the persons involved and also to verify their assets.

Just a fortnight after the order, the CBI filed a common FIR against Mayawati and some officers for their alleged role in the Taj Corridor scam on October 5, 2003. The same day, the CBI also registered a separate case against her under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, pointing out that her assets had gone up from Rs 1 crore in 2003 to Rs 50 crore in 2007.

In today’s verdict, the court rejected the CBI’s contention that the Taj Corridor case and the separate disproportionate assets (DA) case against Mayawati were the “same and the investigation was done in both cases as per the directions of the SC”.

The Bench held that, in fact, the SC had, after going through an investigation report filed by the CBI, passed an order on October 25, 2004 pointing out that the irregularities probed by the agency had no links with the Taj Corridor project.

The Bench also clarified that the court was seized of only the Rs 17 crore released for the Taj Corridor project in September 2002 and not the alleged DA of Mayawati “separately that too from 1995 to 2003”.

The Bench accepted Mayawati’s contention that the DA case against her was beyond the scope of the directions passed by the Supreme Court on September 18, 2003.

Today’s SC verdict, however, did not go into the merits of the CBI’s findings on Mayawati’s assets and was restricted to the technical objection raised by the BSP chief that the agency’s FIR was not at the instance of the apex court.

Mayawati is already out of the Taj Corridor case arising from the CBI’s common FIR, as the UP Governor issued an order on June 3, 2007, refusing permission to prosecute her. He had held that Mayawati was not even remotely connected with the sanction of the Corridor project or the payment released for the same.

The Case File

  • The CBI had said there was "ample evidence" to show that Mayawati had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income
  • Mayawati filed a petition in May 2008 seeking quashing of criminal proceedings against her in the case lodged by the CBI. She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta
  • The SC said the method adopted by the CBI was "unwarranted" and the agency proceeded against her without understanding the orders in the Taj Corridor scam
  • Mayawati is already out of the Taj Corridor case as the UP Governor issued an order refusing permission to prosecute her





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