The Supreme Court on Monday decided to take a “second look” at a plea for revival of a corruption case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in the R175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor scam.
A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu, while admitting a batch of appeals that sought prosecution of Mayawati and her then environment minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, also issued notices to the BSP duo, Centre, CBI and the UP government.
The petitions, which were dismissed by the Allahabad high court in November, have challenged a refusal by the competent authority to grant sanction for prosecuting the leaders for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and under certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. “We will examine this case. We want to take a second look at the matter,” the apex court said.
In 2002, Mayawati had launched the project to beautify areas near the Taj Mahal.
A year later, the top court directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the alleged scam. However, according to reports, only R17 crore was released for the project and work started without any environmental clearance.
During the hearing, Mayawati's counsel and senior advocate KK Venugopal argued that it was for the fourth time that such a plea had reached the court.
Earlier, senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the batch of petitioners, claimed that the HC erroneously dismissed the batch of PILs on the ground that the CBI had failed to obtain sanction from the competent authority – governor in this case, for prosecuting Mayawati and Siddiqui.
The petitioners have also contended that CBI did not challenge the decisions of the then governor refusing sanction for prosecution and a special CBI court dropping the criminal proceedings against the two politicians in the absence of sanction.
The HC had upheld a June 2007 order of the special CBI court, which dropped the criminal proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui for want of the then governor's sanction to prosecute them.