SC quashes DA case against Mayawati

New Delhi: In a major relief to BSP supremo Mayawati, the Supreme Court today quashed a nine-year-long disproportionate assets case against her and pulled up the CBI for initiating the probe against her without specific directions from the court.

The apex court said that the method adopted by the CBI was "unwarranted" and the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders passed in the Taj Corridor scam.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam clarified that the Supreme Court order pertained to initiating probe against state government officials in the scam and there was no such direction to lodge another FIR exclusively against Mayawati for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.

The apex court said there is no finding in the CBI`s status report of September 2008 that Mayawati had allegedly amassed disproportionate assets during the period 1995-2003. "There is no material report of disproportionate assets case against the petitioner (Mayawati) in the Taj Corridor scam," the bench said while referring to the probe agency`s status report.

The court further said that its order of 2002 was specifically pertaining to Taj Corridor case and there was no direction for lodging an FIR against Mayawati as was done by the CBI.

While reading out the operative part of its judgment, the bench observed there was "no such direction to lodge another FIR under Prevention of Corruption Act exclusively against Mayawati".

"The CBI proceeded without properly understanding our orders", the bench said, adding, "Method adopted by the CBI is unwarranted."

The apex court said that the investigating agency exceeded it jurisdiction by filing a DA case against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as there was no such direction from it. "The CBI should have lodged only one FIR (in Taj Corridor scam). There was no direction for lodging second FIR (against Mayawati) by the Supreme Court," the bench said.

The court passed the judgment on Mayawati`s plea seeking quashing of proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI. She had alleged that the agency was being used as a political tool by "fixing" the case against her.

Mayawati had approached the apex court in May 2008 seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the DA case lodged by the CBI nine years ago. She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta against her.

The court had reserved its judgment on May 1, this year after hearing both the sides.

Mayawati had said the bench should direct the CBI to consider the aspect of order passed by the Income Tax Tribunal holding that her income was genuine. The order had also been upheld by the Delhi High Court, she had said.

The CBI had alleged there was "ample evidence" to show that she had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.

Mayawati had claimed she had received the money as donations from party workers.

Questioning Mayawati`s assets, the CBI had alleged her declared assets of Rs one crore in 2003 had gone up to Rs 50 crore in 2007.

The CBI, in its last affidavit filed on September 13, 2011, had alleged there was a "criminal nexus" between Mayawati and her relatives and the disproportionate assets case against her could not be closed on the basis of conclusions arrived at by the Income Tax Department.

The agency had rejected Mayawati`s stand that the DA case should come to an end after the income tax authorities had accepted her income tax assessments.