In a breather for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, Allahabad high court on Monday dismissed a bunch of petitions seeking her prosecution in the Rs. 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor case.
The Lucknow bench of the HC held that the petitions against the Bahujan Samaj Party chief and her aide and former PWD minister Nasimuddin Siddique were devoid of merit.
The petitioners’ counsel, Chandra Bhushan Pandey, said the HC decision would be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and justice Ashwani Kumar Singh upheld the June 2007 order of the special CBI court, which refused to take cognisance of the case for want of the then governor TV Rajeswar's sanction to the probe agency to chargesheet Mayawati and Siddique.
The CBI had launched an investigation into the Taj corridor project on the Supreme Court's July 16, 2003, orders.
Mayawati had launched Rs. 175-crore Taj corridor project when she was leading an alliance government with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in 2002-03.
The state government had released R17 crore for the project aimed at bringing up a corridor on bank of the Yamuna to facilitate linking of Taj Mahal and other monuments located beside the river.
The SC had ordered the probe following reports of violation of environmental norms, threat to Taj Mahal’s existence due to change in river’s course, and restriction imposed by the apex court itself on construction in the monument’s vicinity.
Welcoming the verdict, BSP leader and Mayawati’s counsel SC Mishra termed the petitions “politically motivated” and “pursued with malafide intention”.