On review plea, Bench to seek clarifications from her, Centre and CBI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation on a plea seeking review of its judgment granting Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati relief in a disproportionate assets case.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Dipak Misra issued notice to Ms. Mayawati also

When senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for intervener Kamlesh Verma, insisted on a direction to the CBI to continue the probe against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, the Bench said it would seek clarifications from the respondents whether there was a specific court order directing registration of a first information report to probe her alleged disproportionate assets.

The Bench had on July 6 quashed the FIR registered by the CBI alleging that she acquired assets disproportionate to the known sources of her income, on the ground that there was no specific order for a probe into the disproportionate assets and that the court order was confined to irregularities in the Taj Corridor project.

Now Justice Sathasivam told counsel that the orders referred to by him were cited earlier also and the court took them into consideration while giving the July 6 judgment. Mr. Bhushan said that during the course of the probe into the Taj case, the CBI unearthed huge disproportionate assets and a separate FIR (No. 19) was registered.

Status report on FIR 19

Counsel read out the various orders passed by the Supreme Court and said the CBI had filed several status reports on its investigation. A status report in respect of FIR 19 was filed by the CBI on July 19, 2004 and that day the court granted it three months to complete the investigation. Finding no connection between the facts found in this case and the Taj Corridor project, the court also de-linked FIR 19 and granted the CBI liberty to proceed with the probe and take action on the basis of its investigation in FIR 19, he said.

Justice Sathasivam asked counsel: “Do you think this court is protecting her [Ms. Mayawati]? We only said there was no specific direction to probe her disproportionate assets. This does not bar the CBI from initiating fresh action independently if there is material. Is there an impediment to the CBI to undertake a probe?”

Justice Misra told counsel: “They can approach the Central government to take up fresh investigation against her. We never said that CBI has no power to investigate. There is no prohibition. It [CBI] can do so, but has to get sanction from the State government.”

Mr. Bhushan said: “When there is a specific order, the probe should be allowed to continue. No political party will give sanction against another political leader. It is only the court which can give a direction for conducting the probe.”

After Mr. Bhushan pointed out the relevant order passed by the Supreme Court for conducting the investigation against Ms. Mayawati, the Bench issued notice and told counsel that it would seek clarification on this aspect.