Attacking CBI for its flip flop over its decision to change its stand in the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would not like the agency to become an instrument of the government.
The apex court put some searching questions to the investigating agency for its decision to withdraw the plea of filing the report of the probe before the apex court.
A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir expressed surprise over the CBI's decision and wanted to know "what was wrong with the prayer in the application".
The investigating agency on December 6 last year had moved the apex court to withdraw its earlier application of October 2007 in which it had sought permission to place a status report before the court instead of submitting it to the Central Government as per the March 1, 2007 order.
The Bench, also comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph, said "you asked for justiciable order. Why do you (CBI) want to withdraw it".
"We are inclined to modify our order," the Bench said, referring to its judgement in which CBI was asked to submit the report to the central government.
The Bench noted that when CBI had filed an application for modification of the March 1 order, it had said that it was an independent body and not under the control of the Centre so it wanted to file the report of the probe before the court.
Justice Kabir said "the direction in the judgement to submit the report to the Centre was possibly a mistake".
"We do not want CBI to become an instrument of the Central Government," the judge observed and repeatedly asked Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium "why you (CBI) want to withdraw the application (earlier application) seeking to file the report before the court".
Further, the advocate has sought a copy of the enquiry report so that he could become aware of the nature of the probe and assist the court.
He has moved a separate application alleging that senior law officers of the Centre were giving misleading legal advice to the CBI in the case to please the government.
"It is unfortunate for this country that wrong and misleading advice is being given by the senior law officers of the Centre with a view to please the government in place," Chaturvedi, who had filed a petition seeking CBI probe against Yadav and his kin, had said in his fresh application.
Chaturvedi has contended that since the UPA government proved its majority in the confidence motion with the support of Yadav's party, the submission of the enquiry report with the Centre would help it to proceed with the matter according to their political compulsion and not depending upon the outcome of the report.
Samajwadi Party had changed its stance and extended support to the UPA government in the crucial July 22 confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.
The apex court had ordered a CBI enquiry on the alleged accumulation of disproportionate assets by Yadav, his sons Akhilesh, Prateek and daughter-in-law Dimple.
It asked the CBI to examine, whether the allegations made by the petitioner with regard to the disproportionate assets of the Yadavs were true or not and submit a report to the Centre which may take further steps.
The apex court had rejected the plea of Yadav and his family that the PIL was motivated and filed by Chaturvedi who was a Congress activist.
"The ultimate test in our view, therefore, is whether the allegations have any substance. An enquiry should not be shut out at the thresh hold because a political opponent of a person with political differences raises an allegation of commission of offence," the apex court had observed while ordering the CBI enquiry.
Subsequently, the Yadavs filed a review petition but the same could not be adjudicated after Justice A R Lakshmanan (since retired) recused himself from hearing, following an anonymous letter, which according to the judge, virtually questioned his integrity.