The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to Feb 10 the hearing on a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to change its stand on lodging a case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav for alleged corruption.
A bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice Cyric Joseph adjourned the hearing on a plea by the CBI's new counsel, Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, who sought adjournment to study the brief and prepare his argument in the case.
As Parasaran sought adjournment, the bench enquired about Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, who had appeared on behalf of the CBI during the last hearing early this month.
Acceding to Parasaran's request, it adjourned the hearing to Feb 10, but not before taking a dig at the CBI for changing the lawyer.
"These are old ways of the CBI," it quipped, adding: "We will not adjourn the hearing next time on this ground."
As the bench was consulting various counsel for a suitable date to slate the hearing, Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati, appearing for the central government, wanted the court to specifically allow the CBI to examine Yadav's representation against its earlier finding that there was a case against him.
The court, however, said it would hear and decide the issue later.
In an apparent bid to stem a possible objection to his appearance on behalf of the government in the case, Vahanvati also disclosed to the court that he had in November given his opinion to the CBI to withdraw its 2007 plea to the court in which it wanted the court to take a decision on the question of registering the case against Yadav and his family.
The CBI last December sought the apex court's permission to withdraw its 2007 application in which it had said it needed to register a regular criminal case against Yadav and his family for possessing assets exceeding their legal income.
It had filed the two-page application to the apex court's registry on Saturday, seeking its permission to withdraw its earlier October 2007 application against Yadav and his family.
The CBI's volte face on the issue of registering a corruption case against Yadav had come a few months after the July 22 trust motion in the Lok Sabha during which the Samajwadi Party extended crucial support and saved the Congress-led government.