One of the high points, or low points, in the Rajya Sabha debate over allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was Mayawati’s no-holds-barred attack on the BJP.
Smarting under the BJP’s charge that the CBI was being misused by the UPA to get her and Mulayam Singh Yadav to toe the line on FDI, Mayawati countered by saying that it was the NDA that had misused the CBI against her.
Even while claiming that she was not afraid of the CBI, she said: “I feel it is important to share how CBI was misused during NDA tenure. Ruling BJP at that time had put pressure of CBI on me. I would like to inform you that BJP investigated all cases for political purposes.” Soon after, she announced her decision to vote with the UPA on FDI instead of just abstaining from the vote – as she did in the Lok Sabha.
To strengthen her case, Mayawati claimed the CBI cases, including the Taj Corridor case, were foisted on her because of her refusal to have a pre-poll tieup with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. “In 2003, BJP said it was in favour of contesting elections along with BSP. I said we can form the government but cannot contest elections together because of ideological differences. I refused to contest elections (together) and they said they will withdraw support. They did and I resigned as Chief Minister.”
If Mayawati’s statement took the sting out of the BJP’s allegations, today’s report in The Economic Times suggests that the BJP may, indeed, have the last laugh on this score.
The report quotes former CBI Director Uma Shankar Mishra as completely denying that the NDA applied any kind of pressure on him to create cases against Mayawati. “The Taj Corridor case was lodged on the orders of the Supreme Court. The CBI had nothing to do with the initiation of that case…the CBI acted only on the SC’s directions to probe the case against Mayawati.”
As for the other case – the disproportionate assets case – Mishra said it emerged as a corollary to the Taj Corridor case. It came to light when Mayawati’s properties were raided in connection with the Taj case.
Apart from emphasising that there was “no government pressure”, Mishra said the CBI had a lot of evidence against her in both the cases.
In fact, a new public interest petition filed with the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court seeks to reopen the Taj Corridor case on the ground that the CBI acted unwisely by seeking the sanction of the then Congress-appointed UP Governor TB Rajeshwar for prosecuting Mayawati, which was not given.
As Firstpost wrote earlier this week, the CBI went to the governor even though it was the Supreme Court that had initiated the Taj Corridor investigation. The PIL alleges: “The CBI, in a highly stage-managed manner, filed the charge-sheet before the concerned court, which, on the pretext that the CBI has not been able to procure the necessary sanction under Section 197 CrPC, refused to take cognisance and issue process.’’
The writ petition alleges that the CBI suo moto decided to seek a ‘sanction’ for prosecution when it was only required to present its charge-sheet to the Supreme Court.
And Rajeshwar’s order was “patently tainted with malafide because when the CBI had collected sufficient evidence in support of its case against Ms Mayawati and Sri Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who were at that time holding the posts of CM and cabinet minister respectively, there was hardly any space for the Governor to have applied his mind in the matter.’’
The petition also alleges that the Congress had appointed Rajeshwar as new Governor to solicit the support of Bahujan Samaj Party.
From the views of the former CBI director and what is claimed in the PIL, it appears that we have not heard the last on Mayawati and the CBI. The BJP can still hope for the last laugh.