In what could mean trouble for Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his sons — Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Prateek Yadav — the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the CBI to move forward on its preliminary investigation “independently” against them in a disproportionate assets case.
A bench comprising chief justice Altamas Kabir and justice HL Dattu rejected the review petitions filed by the three to alter the SC’s March 1, 2007 directive ordering a CBI probe. The apex court bench said the order was neither irregular nor erroneous. It had reserved the verdict on February 17, 2011 — taking 22 months to deliver it.
However, there was a silver lining for the Yadavs as the court dropped an inquiry against Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav. The bench said a CBI probe against Dimple would lack merit because she did not occupy any government office or position during the time the allegations were made. Dimple is now a Lok Sabha MP from Kannuaj.
The SC also modified its 2007 judgment and asked the CBI not to submit its report to the Centre, as it had directed earlier. “We are modifying our order of March 1, 2007 to remove the error in it directing CBI to place the report before the government,” the bench said.
Since CBI is an independent body, it is not obligatory for it to file a status report before the government, the court said.
On a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the family in 2005, the SC in March 2007 ordered a CBI inquiry. The Yadavs sought a review on grounds that the PIL, filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, was politically motivated. They said the court’s order to start an inquiry would “set a dangerous precedent” of allowing political opponents to file “false and frivolous” petitions against rivals.
Chaturvedi said, “I welcome the SC verdict. I will make an elaborate statement after going through the full judgment. I don't think the CBI will conduct a fair inquiry without SC monitoring.”