Dumper scam: Jolt for Congress as Supreme Court dismisses petition against Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

In a major setback to the Congress party, the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by Congress leader KK Mishra related to the infamous dumper scam against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as ‘withdrawn’.

The apex court also observed orally that election should be fought outside the court and not in the courtroom.

 Dumper scam: Jolt for Congress as Supreme Court dismisses petition against Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

File photo of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

“The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition filed by KK Mishra as withdrawn. The Madhya Pradesh High Court on 29 January had dismissed the review petition on the ground that sanction from competent authority wasn’t obtained by the petitioner, as it was against the CM (Shivraj Singh Chouhan), who’s a public servant. The HC had also observed that a similar complaint was discussed earlier and after three years the petitioner (KK Mishra) again brought it. Therefore the SC today didn’t want to intervene with the HC order,” advocate Vanshaja Shukla, who appeared before the Supreme Court along with senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told Firstpost.

Rohatgi and Shukla represented Chouhan on Thursday during the hearing before the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.

“Justice Sikri observed orally to senior Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal that election is round the corner and they (Congress party) should fight election outside the court and not in the courtroom. It was not recorded but was in response to senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi’s plea that the said case is politically motivated,” said advocate Shukla.

The alleged dumper scam against Chouhan is one of the major issues like the Vyapam scam that the Opposition Congress has been using as a weapon to attack the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh alleging corruption.

The dumper scam

Bhopal-based Congress leader and a lawyer by profession, Mishra had alleged that Chouhan after becoming the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in November 2005, doled out favours to an industrial group -- Jaypee Associates in Rewa. He had moved court alleging that the chief minister misused his official position and rented out dumper trucks to the said group as quid pro quo for allocation of out-of-the-turn mining leases.

The complainant had also alleged that four dumpers worth Rs 2 crore were registered in the name of Chouhan’s wife Sadhna Singh.

An FIR was registered against Chouhan, his wife, an IAS officer and others in November 2007 regarding the purchase of dumpers. The Lokayukta had investigated the case and found that no offence was committed. A closure report was filed by the Lokayukta police.

In January this year, the Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed a review petition filed by Mishra, challenging Bhopal district court’s judgment (28 October 2017) that had dismissed his previous petition seeking reinvestigation into the alleged dumper scam. The ground of dismissal of review petition was the absence of sanction in the case.

A sanction is required from a competent authority for the prosecution against a person holding public office (or a public servant). In the case of the chief minister, the competent authority is the governor.

The alleged dumper scam snowballed into a major controversy in the state and Assembly proceedings were disrupted for days when the issue became public.

Congress’ stand

The Opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh that pursued the case for almost a decade, is up in arms against Shivraj Singh government and wants to use it as a ‘major case of corruption’ during its upcoming Assembly election campaign.

Senior Congress leader and senior advocates Sibal, Vivek Tankha and others represented Mishra at the Supreme Court.

“SC wasn’t inclined to hear the petition, as the apex court sought a sanction from the competent authority in this case. As the petition is against Madhya Pradesh chief minister, a sanction is needed. This only means more delay, as they (Madhya Pradesh chief minister and others) have gained two months and by then the Assembly election will take place. But we’ll continue with our fight against this scam,” senior advocate and Rajya Sabha member from Congress Tankha told Firstpost.

“I’m told that our senior leader Kapil Sibalji, who’s also a senior advocate and representing this case along with Vivek Tankhaji and others, withdrew the case on technical grounds. It has not been rejected. After discussion with our lawyers and leaders, we may file a fresh petition afresh,” said Mishra.

Updated Date: Sep 20, 2018 20:33:49 IST