Almost a month after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's money garland row, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has told the Supreme Court that it has evidence to prove that she and her relatives have illegal wealth.
The CBI, in an affidavit filed Friday in a corruption case against her, said it has statements of witnesses to show that she virtually forcibly acquired gifts from people.
Claiming that it was serious about prosecuting the chief minister and her relatives, the CBI said it has got clinching evidence to prove that they acquired wealth and built assets far exceeding their legal income.
The investigating agency's affidavit comes close to a row involving a garland, reportedly made of Rs.1,000-denomination currency notes and valued at about Rs.21 lakh, that was presented to Mayawati in Lucknow on the 25th anniversary of the Bahujan Samaj Party March 15.
The CBI said former Uttar Pradesh governor T V Rajeswar's June 2007 order, denying it sanction to prosecute Mayawati and her former cabinet colleagues in the multi-billion-rupee Taj Heritage corridor scam, did not imply that it should also abandon the disproportionate assets case against them.
The Taj Heritage corridor scam involved government allotment of large tracts of land along the proposed corridor to a private builder for a song.
The CBI's affidavit was filed in response to Mayawati's lawsuit, seeking the apex court's direction to scrap the corruption case against her.
She contended that the corruption case was filed by the Congress-ruled central government to arm-twist her and settle political scores with her.
The CBI said it has already completed its probe into the case and was ready to file its chargesheet in the apex court any time.
The CBI added that it has evidence to prove that Mayawati owned huge wealth, far exceeding her legal income, not only in her own name but also in the names of her relatives.
She and her relatives also procured the wealth through gifts, which she has claimed, were given to her by her followers, the CBI said.
The gifts were given to her largely during the period when she was the chief minister of the state, the CBI said.
The CBI is relying upon statements of witnesses, recorded before magistrates, to show that she and her relatives virtually forced poor people into giving them gifts.
The CBI had registered the corruption case against Mayawati, questioning how her declared assets of Rs.1 crore in 2003 went up to Rs.50 crore in 2007.
Mayawati had later filed a lawsuit in the apex court in May 2008 seeking scrapping of the criminal proceedings against her in the case alleging it was political vendetta.