The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to close the long-running disproportionate assets (DA) case against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati.
According to television reports, sources reveal that the apex investigating agency may close this case against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
The latest development in this regard is likely to be seen as an attempt by the ruling Congress Party to bring Mayawati into its fold and enter into an alliance ahead of the 2014 general elections.
On August 8 this year, the Supreme Court had provided relief to Mayawati by reiterating that it had never ordered the CBI in 2003 to lodge a case against Mayawati or probe her for alleged disproportionate assets.
A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Dipak Misra warded off a petition by a UP politician seeking review of the apex court's judgment last year quashing the FIR lodged against Mayawati by the CBI on October 5, 2003. It said there was no error apparent in its July 6, 2012 judgment warranting a relook.
There was a silver lining then for the CBI, when the bench said it had not gone into "any other aspect relating to the claim of the CBI, intervener or the stand of writ petitioner (Mayawati) except the directions relating to Taj Heritage Corridor project which was the only lis (issue) before us.
This observation from the bench seemed to leave the agency with the option of pursuing the matter independently without giving the FIR some sort of legal sanctity by mentioning that it was lodged on the orders of the apex court, as it had done in 2003.
During pendency of Mayawati's writ petition, which was filed in 2008 challenging the registration of the FIR in 2003 as a politically motivated action, the CBI had claimed that it was in possession of enough evidence to file a chargesheet against her.
But the CBI's claim about collecting evidence and its sufficiency to file a chargesheet could not be tested as the apex court had restrained the agency from proceeding further in the case during pendency of her plea.
Mayawati was let off in the Taj Heritage Corridor scam case after Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar had on June 3, 2007 refused to grant the CBI sanction to prosecute the former chief minister and her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui.
In its July 6, 2012 judgment, the court had quashed the FIR after perusing the almost decade-old orders of the court in the Taj Heritage Corridor scam case and coming to the conclusion that there could not have been an occasion for the apex court to direct lodging of DA case FIR against Mayawati.
It had said, "From the perusal of those orders, we are also satisfied that there could not have been any material before this court about the disproportionate assets case of the petitioner (Mayawati) beyond the Taj Corridor project case and there was no such question or issue about disproportionate assets of the petitioner. In view of the same, giving any direction to lodge FIR relating to disproportionate assets case did not arise.
Though the bench of Justices Sathasivam and Misra heard review petitioner Kamlesh Verma's counsel Shanti Bhushan at length, it found nothing new in the arguments from what had been advanced before the court prior to pronouncement of judgment on July 6, 2012.
Disposing of the review petition, the bench had then said, "We once again reiterate that our decision is based on earlier directions relating to Taj Heritage Corridor project, particularly the orders of September 18, 2003, the contents of the FIR lodged on October 5, 2003, the relief prayed in the writ petition (by Mayawati) filed before this court and we have not said or expressed anything beyond the subject matter of the dispute."