The Supreme Court on Monday decided to take a “second look” at a plea for revival of a corruption case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in the multi-crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam.
A Bench led by Justice H L Dattu admitted a bunch of petitions that have sought prosecution of Mayawati and her the then environment minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui. It issued notices to the BSP leaders, seeking their replies within four weeks.
The petitions, which were dismissed by the Allahabad High Court in November last, have challenged a refusal by the competent authority to grant sanction for prosecuting the duo for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and under certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“We will examine this case. We want to take a second look at the matter,” said the Bench while issuing notices also to the Centre, the CBI and the UP government.
During the hearing, Mayawati’s counsel and senior advocate K K Venugopal brought to the notice of the Bench that it was for the fourth time that such a plea had reached the court. The Bench, however, responded that it would want to examine the matter afresh.
Earlier, senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the batch of petitioners, claimed that the High Court erroneously dismissed the batch of PILs on the ground that the CBI had failed to obtain sanction from the competent authority — Governor in this case — for prosecuting Mayawati and Siddiqui.
“The point in law is squarely covered by the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh Badal case wherein it has been ruled that a prior sanction for prosecution was not required in a case where the alleged act was neither in discharge nor in purported discharge of official duties,” he contended.
The petitioners have also contended that the CBI did not challenge the decisions of the then Governor refusing sanction for prosecution and a special CBI court dropping the criminal proceedings against the two politicians in the absence of sanction.
The High Court had upheld a June 2007 order of the special CBI court, which dropped the criminal proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui for want of the then Governor’s sanction to prosecute them.
In 2002, Mayawati had launched the project to beautify areas near the Taj Mahal. A year later, the Supreme Court had directed CBI to conduct an inquiry into the alleged scam in the Rs 175-crore