The Telegraph
Friday , December 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sting for SP parivar, straw for UPA
CBI told to skirt Centre

New Delhi, Dec. 13: The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to proceed with the preliminary assets probe against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, father Mulayam and brother Prateek “independently” and place the report before the CBI judge rather than the Centre.

It added that the agency was “an independent body” and “shall take decisions without seeking any directive from the Union government”.

The court, however, set aside the inquiry against Akhilesh’s wife Dimple, a Lok Sabha member, on the ground that she was not a public servant but a “private person” when the petition seeking the probe was filed.

The probe was first ordered by another apex court bench in March 2007 after a petitioner accused the family of illegally accumulating assets worth over Rs 100 crore when Mulayam was Uttar Pradesh chief minister between 1999 and 2005.

Disposing of review petitions from Akhilesh, Mulayam, Prateek and Dimple, the bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and H.L. Dattu today said: “The probe against respondent No. 4 (Dimple) is liable to be dropped and the review petition filed by her is allowed.”

The court modified the 2007 direction to the CBI that had asked the agency to place the inquiry report before the Union government for appropriate directions. Instead, it said, the agency should conduct the investigation and “take appropriate measures in terms of the Delhi Special Police Establishments Act”.

The court clarified that under the Delhi Special Police Establishments Act, the CBI was not under an obligation to place the report before the Centre.

Senior CBI counsel Ashok Bhan told The Telegraph the directive meant that the agency would place its report before the CBI judge.

The 2007 order was passed by the bench of Justices A.R. Lakshmanan (now retired) and Altamas Kabir on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vishwanath Chaturvedi, a lawyer from Uttar Pradesh. Chaturvedi had alleged that the assets of Mulayam’s family had shot up from Rs 77,000 in 1977 to over Rs 100 crore.

The Yadav family had disputed the allegations claiming Chaturvedi was a Congress official and the petition was meant to settle political scores.

They had argued — during the hearing of the PIL and, later, the review petition in January-February 2011 — that the directive to have the CBI report placed before the Centre would make the accused vulnerable to political vendetta.

They had also contended that the apex court lacked the power to order an inquiry into allegations arising out of political motives.