The Supreme Court decided to examine afresh a plea seeking prosecution of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in the Rs 17 crore Taj Corridor scam case without sanction of the Governor.
“We will examine the case,” a bench comprising justices H L Dattu and Ranjan Gogoi said on the plea challenging a judgement of the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed a batch of PILs on the issue of Mayawati’s prosecution in the absence of grant of sanction.
The petitioners contended that though the then Governor in 2007 T V Rajeshwar had refused to grant sanction for the prosecution of Mayawati and her then Cabinet colleague and Environment Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, the trial court should have proceeded with the criminal proceedings without the sanction.
Besides Mayawati, the apex court also issued notice to the Centre, CBI, the UP government and Siddiqui, seeking their response within four weeks to the petition which contended that the Governor’s sanction was not required for their prosecution for the offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The case against them had been registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for cheating) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the IPC and sections 13(1)(d) [abuse of official position] read with 13(2) [punishment] of the PC Act.
Mayawati’s counsel and senior advocate K K Venugopal said this was for the fourth time such a submission has been made against her, but the bench decided to examine the issue afresh.
The petitioners have also submitted that 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 Allahabad High Court on November 5, 2012 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 Taj Corridor project.
However, only Rs 17 crore was released for it.