In a big relief to Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to review its order quashing a disproportionate assets case against her.
The judgment means political rivals have now lost a potent weapon that they used to put the former UP chief minister on the back foot for more than nine years.
The BSP — driven out of power in 2012 under an onslaught of corruption charges among other issues — now plans to go on the offensive and “expose corruption in the Samajwadi Party government”.
Turning down Lucknow resident Kamlesh Verma’s plea to reopen the case, a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam termed as faulty the CBI’s claim that the assets case was within the scope of directions passed by the top court in 2003 in the Taj Corridor case — the reason it had quashed the case in the first place on July 6.
The court had then clarified that the CBI was free to probe Mayawati for amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income as a standalone case but could not treat it as part of its directions in the Taj case. The CBI had not filed a review petition against the order.
Maintaining that Verma’s plea raised no new grounds, the court said, “The very same contentions (grounds) made were dealt with and duly considered at length and it was clarified that anything beyond the Taj Corridor matter was not the subject matter of reference before the Taj Corridor bench.”
In September 2003, the SC had ordered a CBI probe into the Taj case relating to the release of Rs 17 crore by the UP government, allegedly without sanction, for upgrading tourist facilities near the Taj Mahal. A month later, the agency had registered a second FIR against the then CM Mayawati, accusing her of acquiring disproportionate assets. It had claimed that the FIR was an off-shoot of the Taj case.
Mayawati had accused the NDA government at the Centre of implicating her in a “false” case and moved court against the CBI probe.
“The BSP could not have asked for more before the crucial Lok Sabha elections,” BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya said in Lucknow.