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In a major relief to Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed a nine-year-long disproportionate assets case against her and pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for initiating the probe against her without specific directions from the court.
The apex court said that the method adopted by the CBI was "unwarranted" and the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders passed in the Taj Corridor scam.
A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam clarified that the Supreme Court order pertained to initiating probe against state government officials in the scam and there was no such direction to lodge another first information report exclusively against Mayawati for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.
The apex court said there is no finding in the CBI's status report of September 2008 that Mayawati had allegedly amassed disproportionate assets during the period 1995-2003.
"There is no material report of disproportionate assets case against the petitioner (Mayawati) in the Taj Corridor scam," the bench said while referring to the probe agency's status report.
The court further said that its order of 2002 was specifically pertaining to Taj Corridor case and there was no direction for lodging an FIR against Mayawati as was done by the CBI.
With inputs from PTI
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While reading out the operative part of its judgment, the bench observed there was "no such direction to lodge another FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act exclusively against Mayawati".
"The CBI proceeded without properly understanding our orders," the bench said, adding, "Method adopted by the CBI is unwarranted."
The apex court said that the investigating agency exceeded it jurisdiction by filing a DA case against the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, as there was no such direction from it.
"The CBI should have lodged only one FIR (in Taj Corridor scam). There was no direction for lodging second FIR (against Mayawati) by the Supreme Court," the bench said.
The court passed the judgment on Mayawati's plea seeking quashing of proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI. She had alleged that the agency was being used as a political tool by "fixing" the case against her.
Mayawati had approached the apex court in May 2008 seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI nine years ago. She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta against her.
The court had reserved its judgment on May 1, this year after hearing both the sides.
Welcoming the verdict Mayawati said that the apex court order had reaffirmed her faith in judicial system. "I thank my counsel Harish Salve and my party colleague Satish Chander Mishra for properly taking up the case in the Supreme court. I also express my thanks to the party workers," she said.
Mayawati's close aide SC Mishra added, "We welcome the relief given to Mayawati by the honourable Supreme Court. The honourable court has said that every single penny in her banks is accounted for. It rapped the CBI for going beyond the brief for registering cases against her on insistence by the BJP."
According to Shahid Siddqui, Rajya Sabha member of Samajwadi party, the court's order did not give clean chit to Mayavati but was against the CBI and the manner in which it was handling the cases without any jurisdiction. "We will have to go through the order of the court before taking a decision," Shahid Siddqui told rediff.com over phone.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, senior leader of the Bhartiya Janata party, said that the party would study the judgment in its entirety before giving its reactions. "The CBI was investigating at the instance of the court and not by the government. The cases were registered in October 2004 and then UPA came to power."
With inputs from PTI
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