New Delhi/Lucknow, Jan. 9: The Supreme Court today asked Uttar Pardesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to respond to charges that he and his family owned unaccounted assets worth crores.
The bolt from the court came on a day Mulayam’s lieutenant Amar Singh took his running phone-tap battle with the Congress to the apex court, but at the end of the day a Lucknow Congress worker appeared to have turned the tables on the Samajwadi Party.
The court acted on a PIL filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, seeking a probe into the long list of assets ' both movable and immovable ' allegedly amassed by Mulayam since he first became a minister in 1977.
The petition claimed there was a huge discrepancy between the properties Mulayam now owns and the three bighas of “pucca” agriculture land, a house in Safai village and a residential plot in Etawah he had then declared under the UP Ministers and Legislators (Publication of Assets and Liabilities) Act, 1975.
Mulayam’s sons Akhilesh and Prateek and his daughter-in-law Dimple were also sent notices. The Centre has been asked to respond, too.
The court notice somewhat robbed of its sting Amar’s decision to move the Supreme Court for a judicial probe into his tapped phones, which he claims is being done by the Congress on orders from the party high command.
Reacting to the notice from Kanpur, Mulayam said the Congress and a top industrialists had hatched a plot to kill him. “The Congress wants to put me and my family behind bars. There is a threat to my life, too. We will fight the case legally and politically.”
Before admitting Chaturvedi’s PIL, the Supreme Court had sought to know what his motive ' as a Congressman ' was. It was brought to the court’s attention that Chaturvedi had contested a bypoll against Rajnath Singh, now BJP president, in 2002.
But after Chaturvedi produced a comprehensively documented 275-page annexure of Mulayam’s properties, it decided to go ahead.
“I am here to highlight how' Mulayam Singh Yadav and the members of his family broke all limits of corruption by acquiring wealth and properties disproportionate to their known sources of income,” the five-foot-five, soft-spoken man from Hydergarh said in his forwarding letter to the court.
Disclosing how he put together the 275-page document, Chaturvedi said: “I first approached the registrar of property. When he refused to show the documents, I went to the high court and obtained an order to get photocopies of the documents.”
The Samajwadi Party holds him responsible for filing 20 cases against its leadership.
Mulayam’s parliamentary affairs minister Azam Khan said the state would furnish its reply. “The Supreme Court petition is part of a political conspiracy but the state government is not scared.”