The ghost of the multi-crore Taj heritage corridor scam returned to haunt Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati when the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on Friday issued a notice to her. Notice was also issued to the State Public Works Department and Irrigation Minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui.
Bahujan Samaj Party’s national general secretary and senior advocate Satish Chandra Mishra, said that a petition will be filed in the Supreme Court by the State Government against the order of the Allahabad High Court. Mr. Mishra said that three writs had earlier been filed in the apex court on the issue, which included the present writ pending in the High Court. All the three writs had been dismissed by the Supreme Court, he added.
A two-judge Bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabibul Hasan, while admitting a public interest litigation on Friday, ordered that the case be listed in November. The writ petition was filed by Kamlesh Verma, Anupama Singh and Qateel Ahmed. The petitioners had challenged the decision of the then UP Governor, T.V. Rajeswar to deny the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the sanction to prosecute Ms. Mayawati in the Taj case, as well as the decision of the CBI designated court to exonerate the Chief Minister and Mr. Siddiqui.
The High Court had reserved its order on August 12, 2009 on the maintainability of the petition.
The Taj corridor scandal dates back to the Mayawati regime of 2002-2003. A probe was conducted by the CBI. The central investigating agency could not proceed further in the case as its request for sanction to prosecute Ms. Mayawati and Mr. Siddiqui for their alleged involvement was not forthcoming. However, the CBI’s request was referred to the then Governor, Mr. Rajeswar by the Mulayam Singh Government in May 2007, a few days before the counting of votes of the 2007 UP Assembly elections. The verdict gave a clear mandate to Ms. Mayawati, who returned to power for the fourth time.
Ms. Mayawati was granted a reprieve when Mr. Rajeswar rejected the CBI’s request for sanction to prosecute her in the Taj case. The then Governor apparently did not find enough evidence to give his nod to sanction for prosecution. Mr. Rajeswar’s views were received by the CBI on June 3, 2007. The then Governor’s decision was announced by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister at a Press conference in Lucknow on June 5, 2007