Both pol­i­tics and le­gal nu­ance are at play in the dis­pro­por­tion­ate as­sets case against the Sa­ma­jwadi Party chief and his fam­ily


De­cem­ber 2005

PO­LIT­I­CAL BACK­GROUND THE Congress-led UPA is in power at the Cen­tre and can af­ford to do with­out SP’S sup­port. Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav is chief min­is­ter of Ut­tar Pradesh, a state which Rahul Gandhi is soon to take over as his

karmb­hoomi. The bat­tle shifts to the states for Assem­bly Elec­tions 2007.

LE­GAL STA­TUS Vish­wanath Chaturvedi files a 1,000 page PIL in Supreme Court (writ pe­ti­tion 633 of 2005) against Mu­layam and his fam­ily, al­leg­ing that they have ac­cu­mu­lated as­sets dis­pro­por­tion­ate to their in­come. Chaturvedi claims that Mu­layam’s fam­ily owns “prop­erty worth sev­eral hun­dred crores”.

March 2007

PO­LIT­I­CAL BACK­GROUND THE Ut­tar Pradesh Assem­bly elec­tions are round the corner, slated for April-may 2007. By now, Rahul has taken charge of the Congress cam­paign in the state against both Mu­layam and Mayawati. In May, Mayawati forms the gov­ern­ment.

LE­GAL STA­TUS On March 1, 2007, a two-judge bench of Supreme Court Jus­tices Al­ta­mas Kabir and A.R. Lak­sh­manan or­ders CBI to con­duct a pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry into the al­le­ga­tions of dis­pro­por­tion­ate as­sets ac­cu­mu­lated by Mu­layam and his fam­ily. (Jus­tice Lak­sh­manan re­tires on March 22, 2007. He is made chair­man of the Eigh­teenth Law Com­mis­sion on May 30, 2007.) The Ya­davs file a re­view pe­ti­tion ar­gu­ing against the CBI in­quiry on March 15. Gau­rav Bha­tia, the Ya­davs’ ad­vo­cate-on-record, cites prece­dent to claim that “a pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry can only be or­dered by the court if there is prima fa­cie ma­te­rial be­fore the court that there is a crime com­mit­ted”.

Oc­to­ber 2007

PO­LIT­I­CAL BACK­GROUND On July 22, 2007, SP saves the Man­mo­han Singh­led UPA Gov­ern­ment in a trust vote in Par­lia­ment over the nu­clear deal. Chaturvedi points out, “mu­layam Singh was shielded from pun­ish­ment as a vol­un­tary gift to com­mem­o­rate the sup­port he ex­tended to UPA on the cru­cial trust vote.” But if the SP chief thinks the case against him will be with­drawn, he is in for a sur­prise.

LE­GAL STA­TUS On Oc­to­ber 28, 2007, CBI files an In­ter­locu­tory Ap­pli­ca­tion (IA no. 12) re­quest­ing per­mis­sion to “pro­ceed fur­ther” in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This re­mains pend­ing be­fore the court till De­cem­ber 6, when CBI files an­other ap­pli­ca­tion to with­draw the IA stat­ing “there have been fur­ther de­vel­op­ments... In view of the le­gal ad­vice and di­rec­tions of the Union of In­dia, the IA filed by CBI may be al­lowed to be with­drawn”. This is con­tested by Chatur-

vedi in court. The pe­ti­tioner also claims that the se­cu­rity pro­vided to him by court was with­drawn thrice dur­ing Novem­berDe­cem­ber 2007 by the Gov­ern­ment. He com­plains to then min­is­ter of state for home Sriprakash Jaiswal. Chaturvedi rec­ca­lls, “He (Jaiswal) told me, ‘you want to break the coali­tion and you want se­cu­rity too?’” Chaturvedi tells IN­DIA TO­DAY that in Novem­ber 2007, a se­nior Congress Cab­i­net min­is­ter or­gan­ised a meet­ing be­tween him and then SP leader Amar Singh. “dur­ing this meet­ing, Amar Singh asked me to with­draw my case,” he says.

March 2009

PO­LIT­I­CAL BACK­GROUND THE 2009 Lok Sabha elec­tions take place in April-may. Ini­tially, SP and the Congress ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of seat shar­ing in Ut­tar Pradesh. But by end-march, talks be­tween the two break down

LE­GAL STA­TUS On March 30, 2009,

CBI does an­other U-turn and files an af­fi­davit in Supreme Court stat­ing that “it stands by its sta­tus re­port of 26.10.2007”.

April 2012


2012, SP sweeps the Ut­tar Pradesh Assem­bly elec­tions. Are-en­er­gised Mu­layam moves to the Cen­tre af­ter installing son Akhilesh as Chief Min­is­ter. The Congress, how­ever, needs a pli­ant Mu­layam to bal­ance can­tan­ker­ous al­lies like Tri­namool Congress chief Ma­mata Ban­er­jee. It also needs Mu­layam’s sup­port dur­ing the forth­com­ing pres­i­den­tial polls.

LE­GAL STA­TUS In Fe­bru­ary 2011, the Supreme Court re­serves its judg­ment on Mu­layam’s re­view pe­ti­tion against its March 2007 or­der. That judg­ment is still pend­ing. In the case of the CBI ap­pli­ca­tion, one of the two judges (Jus­tice Cyr­iac Joseph) re­tires in Jan­uary 2012. That case will have to be heard again. No date has been fixed for it.

SU­BIR Halder/­di­a­to­day­im­


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