SC quashes Taj Corridor case against Mayawati after tardy CBI probe

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati The Supreme Court today brought cheer into the camp of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party, ruling that the Central Bureau of Investigation case against Mayawati in the infamous 'Taj Corridor' project will not be re-opened.

"The Supreme Court has given us justice," Mayawati said in response to the judgement.

The CBI has been investigating the politician for nearly nine years to determine whether her assets were disproportionate to her declared income. The public would agree that that they certainly are; but with the government-controlled investiagtion bureau making no progress over nine years, the apex court was obviously fed up.

The inquiry began after allegations that a project to develop the areas around the Taj Mahal, the internationally famous mausoleum of the chief wife of 16th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, was steeped in financial irregularities.

The Supreme Court had already said in July 2012 that the CBI had exceeded its brief by filing a police case (First Information Report) against Mayawati. But Kamlesh Verma, an Uttar Pradesh resident, filed a review petition.

Verma filed his petition as an intervener in a case filed by Mayawati in the apex court for quashing the disproportionate assets case against her.

A bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Dipak Misra today reiterated its earlier verdict that the CBI must wrap up its investigation in this case, though it could continue to probe other instances of possible corruption.

Manmohan Singh's United Progressive Alliance government lacks a majority in parliament, and often depends on Mayawati's BSP to pass bills that it considers important. It is therefore hardly a surprise that the CBI is not looking into any other instance of alleged graft against the Mayawati.

During today's hearing, the CBI was reluctant to take a stand on the issue of whether it would probe Mayawati further for holding assets vastly above her income.

The Supreme Court had on 6 July quashed the nine-year-long disproportionate assets case against her and had pulled up the CBI for exceeding its jurisdiction by lodging an FIR against her without any direction from it.

The apex court had said the DA case against Mayawati was "unwarranted" and that the agency proceeded against her without properly understanding its orders which were confined to the Taj corridor case relating to the release of Rs17 crore by the state government.