Disproportionate assets case: SC to hear fresh plea against Mayawati

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a petition seeking the registration of a fresh first information report against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati in a disproportionate assets case, spelling trouble for the former chief minister as she prepares for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 13 months.

The petition was filed by Kamlesh Verma, a former BSP member.

A bench comprising justices Anil R. Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel on Wednesday said it would not pass an order immediately, but agreed to hear the case.

BSP member of Parliament Rajpal Saini said this was an attempt to defame the party’s leader ahead of the election. Saini attributed the case to a recent opinion poll which indicated that BSP may emerge as the largest party in a hung assembly in Uttar Pradesh next year.

“All these are cheap tricks to malign Mayawati’s image. It is nothing but political vendetta,” he said.

The centre told the apex court that no such petition should be entertained as there were no new grounds to seek a fresh FIR.

“The income tax department has already given a clean chit to Mayawati in connection with amassing of assets disproportionate to her income,” attorney general Mukul Rohtagi told the court.

He said the Supreme Court in 2013 had quashed an FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on this issue while adding that the agency had gone beyond the scope of its earlier order of 2003, which had allowed for an investigation into irregularities in the sanctioning of funds for the Taj Corridor project, which involved upgrading tourist facilities near the Taj Mahal.

Analysts say any case of corruption filed against a popular leader ahead of an election would likely benefit rather than harm a politician.

“The centre will definitely not encourage the court to proceed with the case as they would not want to be blamed for being party to the petition for political gains. Moreover, such cases do not become political issues so close to the election. On the contrary, politicians tend to get public sympathy for being falsely accused by political rivals,” said Ramesh Dixit, a former professor of political science at Lucknow University.