The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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President poll ahead, time to please
Taj respite for Mayavati

Lucknow, May 15: The reprieve is only for eight days, but Mayavati wouldn’t mind.

In a breather for the Bahujan Samaj Party leader, just days into her fourth stint as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the CBI today did not file the governor’s sanction to prosecute her in the Taj corridor case.

Special CBI judge Rekha Dixit fixed the next hearing for May 23 after the agency sought more time.

For Mayavati, who had been tense and looked distracted since morning, it was a relief as it removed, at least temporarily, a potential roadblock in her tenure as chief minister.

The reprieve came after the CBI, which had been told by the court in February to submit governor T.V. Rajeswar’s sanction by today, said it had not yet received the order.

“The fact that we are asking for more time means we have not received the sanction order yet,” CBI advocate Vivek Saxena said.

It was a little after 2 in the afternoon, and the moment Mayavati had been waiting for had finally come.

The central agency’s stand came at a time the Congress-led coalition is keen to marshall Mayavati’s support to its presidential nominee.

The day’s drama wasn’t over yet.

In the evening, Mayavati turned the tables on her rivals when she ordered a CBI probe into the 2005 murder of former party legislator Raju Pal in which Samajwadi Party MP Atiq Ahmad and his brother are the main accused.

State principal secretary (home) K. Chandramauli told reporters a letter to this effect had been sent to the Centre.

Earlier, while BSP top guns expressed their gratitude privately to the governor, accused of being close to Mayavati, the Samajwadi Party spewed venom at Rajeswar for delaying the release of the sanction cleared earlier by the toppled Mulayam Singh Yadav.

“Didn’t we say the governor is a Congress agent'” fumed Ashoke Vajpayee, a minister in the Mulayam regime.

On May 11, before he put in his papers, Mulayam had sent the CBI’s request for sanction to prosecute Mayavati in the Rs 175-crore scam to the governor. According to the law, the governor has to hand over the sanction letter to the CBI.

Samajwadi Party MP Sayeed Siddique claimed the Congress was trying to buy votes for the presidential elections by keeping Mayavati happy.

Sources said Mayavati, too, was behaving softly with the Congress. Yesterday, when some officers approached former Congress MLA Louise Khursheed, wife of state party chief Salman Khursheed, to ask her to vacate her official quarters, Mayavati had scolded the bureaucrats and asked them to wait.

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