Debating India

UTTAR PRADESH

Prosecution of Mayawati recommended

Wednesday 23 August 2006

Legal Correspondent

Enough evidence, CVC tells Supreme Court

Supreme Court directs Mayawati, five others to be impleaded Court asked CVC to scrutinise CBI’s material in March CVC agrees with CBI decision to close cases against five persons

NEW DELHI: The Central Vigilance Commission on Monday told the Supreme Court that there were "adequate grounds" to prosecute former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in the Rs. 175-crore Taj corridor scam. This opinion runs contrary to that of Attorney-General Milon K. Banerjee, based on which the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation had decided not to proceed against her.

Not accepting the CBI’s stand, the apex court in March directed the CVC to scrutinise the CBI materials pertaining to the investigation and submit a report.

In the light of the CVC recommending the prosecution of Ms. Mayawati and five others, a three-Judge Bench, comprising Justice Ruma Pal, Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice S.H. Kapadia, directed that all of them be impleaded. The Bench directed them to file a proper application in this regard within a week and a rejoinder by the parties concerned a week thereafter.

Apex court’s direction

The apex court in February asked Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati how the CBI could close the case without the leave of the court and directed the CBI to produce all the material before the CVC. On March 14, the CBI submitted 18 volumes of material relating to the investigation.

The CVC, in its report to the court, recommended the prosecution of Ms. Mayawati, former State Environment Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and former State Environment Secretary R.K. Sharma and officials Rajendra Prasad, Kamal Radhu and M. Sharma. The CVC agreed with the CBI decision to close the cases against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary D.S. Bagga, Mayawati’s former personal secretary P.L. Punia, former Union Environment Secretary K.C. Mishra, former State Environment Secretary V.K. Gupta and S.C. Bali, managing director of the company that undertook the contract for the Taj heritage corridor project.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Ms. Mayawati, questioned the CVC’s recommendation and said the supervision of the CVC would not mean it could direct the manner in which the CBI should conduct the investigation and file a charge sheet. He said it would be the exclusive jurisdiction of the CBI to file a case or not and once the Attorney-General had given his opinion to close the case, the CVC could not recommend prosecution.

See online : The Hindu

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