The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a major reprieve to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, refusing to interfere with the state governor's denial to prosecute her on charges of corruption in an ambitious project to build a shopping mall close to the Taj Mahal when she was in power the last time.
A three-judge special environment bench, headed by Justice SB Sinha, declined to interfere with Governor TV Rajeshwar's order of June 5 denying sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute Mayawati, saying that the bench had no jurisdiction in the matter.
It had once goaded the CBI into registering the criminal case against Mayawati and the state's top bureaucrats for financial bungling in the Taj Corridor project, alleged to be to the tune of Rs. 1.75 billion, while examining its impact on environment. The court had also monitored the probe by the CBI.
It, however, said in its ruling that its role was over with monitoring the case.
Amicus curiae Kishan Mahajan, who had assisted the bench in examining the environmental impact of the Taj Corridor project and the criminal culpability of Mayawati and others in the financial bungling of the project, had moved the court seeking its intervention after the governor denied sanction to prosecute the chief minister.
The bench, however, was hesitant in taking up the matter from the day one and had asked Mahajan to convince it if it had the power to directly examine the legality of a Lucknow Sessions Court order, which had asked the CBI to approach the governor and seek his sanction to prosecute the chief minister in February this year.
After hearing Mahajan's arguments, the bench had reserved its order on September 17.