Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has accused the Central Bureau of Investigation of harassing her by filing the disproportionate assets (DA) case against her. While the former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad was let off by the CBI without filing any appeal in an income tax case, she was being targeted for political reasons, Ms. Mayawati said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.

In her response to the CBI's justification of the charges against her, Ms. Mayawati said it had neither the authority nor jurisdiction to initiate any proceedings, including filing the first information report against her in the assets case. The case comes up for hearing on April 23.

Once the main Taj corridor scam case, involving Rs. 17 crore, ended and it was conclusively proved that she was not involved, the CBI ought to have dropped the assets case immediately. However, the agency, in a most illegal and arbitrary manner and simply to harass and defame her, was pursuing the case under political pressure, Ms. Mayawati said. The CBI and Income Tax authorities went ahead with the probe into her income not only during 2002-2003, to which period the Taj case was related, but also from the assessment year 1998-99 onwards for re-opening assessment proceedings.

Ms. Mayawati said the Income Tax authorities had passed separate orders for the assessment years from 1998-1999 till 2004-2005 to the effect that an amount to the tune of Rs. 2,77,98,300 she had was legal, it constituted bona fide gifts and was accepted as legal receipts. The Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), New Delhi, passed orders for the assessment years 2001-02 and 2002-03 that these gifts were genuine and she wrote to the CBI, asking it to close the case by filing the final report.

Why double standards?

While the CBI accepted the legal opinion that no case was made out for filing appeals against Mr. Lalu Prasad and the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, a different legal view was taken in her case, Ms. Mayawati said, adding she should be treated on a par with these leaders.

The CBI had, in its affidavit, maintained that there was adequate evidence of the benami nature of the assets she acquired as “gifts” by way of conspiracy. “The refusal of sanction by the Governor for [her] prosecution in the Taj case does not mean that the DA case, which discloses a huge amount of disproportionate assets acquired by the petitioner by corrupt or illegal means not necessarily connected with the Taj case, also requires to be closed.”

The CBI followed the due process of law and never subjected the petitioner or her family members to harassment, and gave them ample opportunity to explain their versions, the affidavit said and sought dismissal of Ms. Mayawati's petition.

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