June 7: The Supreme Court today directed Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, son Akhilesh and family members to explain the source of their income and investments over the last five years.
The order came on a PIL filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi alleging he had amassed wealth of over Rs 100 crore by illegal means and by misusing his official position. A controversy has been brewing since the Uttar Pradesh resident moved court in December.
Coming at a time when Mulayam is preparing to defend his crown ' Uttar Pradesh elections are due early next year ' the directive to submit income and wealth tax returns for five years is likely to be exploited by his political rivals.
The court has, however, left the question of examining Chaturvedi’s credentials as a petitioner open after Mulayam’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi alleged he was working at Congress behest.
Rohatgi claimed the PIL was motivated by political vendetta. Chaturvedi had said in his affidavit that he was “adopted” by the Congress during the last Assembly elections to fight BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Rohatgi said. “Congress does not adopt just anybody just like that,” he alleged.
The chief minister has been given four weeks by the vacation bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and C.K. Thakkar to reply. The case has been posted for July 17.
In the PIL, Chaturvedi had alleged that Mulayam and his family members, including his other son Pratik and Akhilesh’s wife Dimple, illegally acquired wealth of over Rs 100 crore.
But Mulayam claimed in a counter affidavit that the value of all his properties was less than Rs 10 crore, not over Rs 100 crore.
“The properties being alleged by Congress as disproportionate are already listed in my affidavit with the Election Commission filed during the Lok Sabha polls,” he said in Lucknow yesterday.
Chaturvedi’s counsel P.N. Lekhi contended there was no political motive in filing the PIL. Not only was the Congress Mulayam’s coalition partner in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party was supporting the UPA regime at the Centre, he said.
In his counter affidavit, Mulayam also accused Chaturvedi of being the head of the Congress’s public interest litigation cell.
“They are casting aspersions on Samajwadi leaders’ lifestyles. Look at the way Congress leaders have amassed wealth. One need not go to court to know it,” Mulayam said.
During today’s hearing, it was pointed out that IT notices had been sent to Mulayam and Akhilesh for details of movable and immovable properties acquired between 2002-03 and 2005-06.