| Mayavati: Setback
New Delhi, Feb. 14: The Supreme Court today took serious note of the United Progressive Alliance government closing the Rs 175-crore Taj heritage corridor corruption case against Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayavati.
The apex court directed the CBI to file its report with the evidence that prompted the prosecution to close the case.
'It appears from the status report submitted by CBI director U.S. Mishra' that 'prosecution was not to be launched', said the court.
'We hereby direct the CBI to produce the entire evidence and the opinion of (the) attorney-general before the court within two weeks,' said a three-judge bench of Justices Ruma Pal, S.B. Sinha and S.H. Kapadia in its interim order.
The court had earlier asked the CBI to complete investigations and file the case by directly naming Mayavati.
The bench also expressed displeasure over sending the entire evidence to attorney-general Milon Banerjee ' who suggested the case be closed ' before producing it in court.
Advocate Ajay Aggarwal, who has challenged the stay granted by Allahabad High Court on Mayavati's and other officials' arrest, contended that the CBI might file a closure report before the Lucknow bench of the court 'unless restrained'.
However, the judges hoped that the CBI 'would do no such thing' as the bureau knew that the matter is with the apex court.
The court clarified that they would 'thoroughly scrutinise' the evidence and recorded the statement of solicitor-general G.E. Vahanvati that no closure report would be filed by the CBI till further orders of the Supreme Court.
Those accused along with Mayavati are the former chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh, D.S. Bagga, the BSP leader's personal secretary, P.L. Punia, and the state's environment secretary, R.K. Sharma.
The judges pointed out to the solicitor-general that the CBI had filed the FIR against Mayavati and other officials on the basis of the court's September 18, 2003, order. 'So you should have reported to the court rather than seek opinions from others,' said the judges and sought to know 'why such a lapse occurred'.
Vahanvati clarified that the attorney-general's views were sought as CBI officers had expressed conflicting opinions on whether or not to prosecute on the basis of the evidence collected.
'Let us see the evidence on the basis of which the learned attorney-general has opined closure of the case,' said Justice Pal.
'The opinion cannot be a piece of evidence based on which the CBI has proposed to close the case.'