Amid speculation about renewed understanding between the Congress and Samajwadi Party, the government on Tuesday virtually defended Mulayam Singh Yadav before the Supreme Court by indirectly questioning the court's 2007 order for a CBI probe into the alleged disproportionate assets of his family.
During hearing of petitions filed by Yadav and his family members seeking review of the March 1, 2007 order for a preliminary inquiry into their assets, attorney general GE Vahanvati said the court could order a CBI probe only in cases of violation of fundamental rights.
"Unless there is a violation of fundamental rights, Article 32 (writ jurisdiction of the SC) can not be used… CBI inquiry can be ordered by courts sparingly and in exceptional circumstances," Vahanvati told a bench of justices Altmas Kabir and HL Dattu.
He, however, added that it has now become flexible.
"He (attorney general) is supporting you…In fact he has argued for you," justice Dattu told the advocates representing the Yadavs.
Acting on a petition by advocate Vishwanath Chaturvedi, the SC had ordered a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into the alleged disproportionate assets of Mulayam Singh, his sons — Akhilesh and Prateek — and daughter-in-law Dimple. The court had asked the CBI to place the probe report before the Centre.
However, in October 2007, it moved an application seeking permission to submit its report to the court on the ground that relevant legal provisions did not permit it. But after Congress and Samajwadi Party came closer during the July 2008 no-confidence motion, the agency filed another application in December 2008 for withdrawal of its earlier plea and submitting the report to the Government.
"You (CBI) are acting at the behest of Centre... You are not acting on your own," the court had said on February 10, 2009 after additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran admitted that the CBI's plea to withdraw its application for filing the probe report before the SC was based on Government's direction.
Terming it as "very unusual and surprising", the SC had said: "What you just said is incomprehensible…if this is the ground for filing the application then God help us."
The court will take up the matter on February 17, when it will hear senior counsel KTS Tulsi on behalf of Chaturvedi.