The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation is free to probe the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and Dipak Misra, who had quashed the proceedings against her on July 6 last year, said that it had passed the earlier order without going into the merit of the DA case against her.
It said the FIR in the DA case was quashed because the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders which were confined to Taj Corridor case. It clarified that the judgment has not taken away CBI's power to proceed against her in a separate DA case.
"The CBI can investigate the disproportionate assets case against her," the bench said, adding that it would pass an order clarifying the earlier judgment.
"CBI's power to probe the case against Mayawati has not been taken away by us," the bench said while reserving its order on a review petition filed against its July 6 verdict.
It also said that the court will take note of CBI findings on the assets of Mayawati.
Senior advocate S C Mishra, appearing for Mayawati, opposed the review plea and said that the judgement was clear and there was no need for any clarification.
"No clarification is required as the CBI can go ahead with the probe. This review plea is like an appeal which should not be entertained," Mishra said.
The CBI seemed reluctant to take a stand on the issue and the bench asked Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran thrice what its stand was.
The SG just referred to the July 6 verdict and said that the agency's earlier stand did not find favour with the Supreme Court. He said that CBI's power was not curtailed by the apex court.
The bench asked Parasaran, "Do you mean to say that it needs to be clarified that the right of CBI to probe was not curtailed by our judgment."
"Yes," replied the SG.
The review petition has been filed by Uttar Pradesh native Kamlesh Verma, who was an intervener in the case filed by Mayawati in the apex court for quashing the DA case against her.
Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Verma, pleaded with the court to pass order on review to bring the accused to the book.
"The entire investigation was carried out by the CBI under Supreme Court's direction. It is the duty of the court to ensure that justice is done. It is the duty of this court to see that she is prosecuted," Bhushan said.
The Supreme Court had on July 6 quashed the nine-year-long disproportionate assets case against her and had pulled up the CBI for exceeding its jurisdiction by lodging an FIR against her without any direction from it.
The apex court had said the DA case against Mayawati was "unwarranted" and that the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders, which were confined to Taj Corridor case, related to the release of Rs 17 crore by the UP government allegedly without sanction.