Decoding Mulayam Singh Yadav assets case

What are the allegations?

Rae Bareli advocate Vishvanath Chaturvedi filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in November 2005, seeking a CBI inquiry into the assets of Mulayam Singh Yadav, sons Akhilesh and Prateek, and daughter-in-law Dimple. The petitioner alleged the family had acquired properties in Lucknow, Etawah, etc, worth over Rs 100 crore, which were disproportionate to their known sources of income.

What happened in the SC?

In June 2006, the SC directed Mulayam, Akhilesh, Prateek and Dimple to file before it their income-tax returns of the preceding four years. On March 1, 2007, it asked CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations and submit a report to the Government.

What did Mulayam do?

On March 16, 2007, Mulayam and the others filed petitions against the order, alleging that Chaturvedi's PIL was sponsored by the Congress. Justice A R Lakshmanan declined to hear the case; Justice Altamas Kabir, now Chief Justice of India, heard the case in open court.

What did CBI do?

CBI registered a PE on March 5, 2007, and concluded it on October 26 that year. It approached court the next month, saying it would like to submit its report to the court rather than the government, and handed over a sealed envelope to court. The CBI report is believed to have recommended a regular case be registered against Mulayam and the others. In July 2008, as the crisis over the Nuclear deal was coming to a head, there were reports of "negotiations" between Mulayam and the UPA. That month, Dimple wrote to the PM, denying allegations against her. The PM forwarded the letter to CBI, which asked for legal opinion.

On November 21, 2008, then Solicitor General G E Vahanvati opined that the assets of Dimple and Malti Devi, Mulayam's late first wife, could not be clubbed with those of Mulayam, because they "held no public office".

CBI filed an application before the apex court in December 2008, seeking to withdraw its earlier view in favour of registering a regular case. It said that it was making this submission on the advice of the government.

What was the outcome?

In March 2009, the SC reserved its order on CBI's December 2008 plea. On February 17, 2011, it reserved its order on Mulayam and family's March 16, 2007 plea to quash the PE. On December 13, 2012, a Bench comprising CJI Kabir and Justice H L Dattu asked the CBI to proceed with the case against Mulayam and his sons, and file the status report to the court not government. The case against Dimple is to be dropped.

What happens now?

CBI will have to register regular disproportionate assets cases against Mulayam and his sons. As the probe proceeds, members of the family may be questioned in person.

What else happened on December 13?

Petitioner Vishvanath Chaturvedi had filed a criminal complaint with Delhi's Tilak Marg police station on October 17, 2011 against former law minister H R Bhardwaj, former DoPT minister Prithviraj Chavhan, then SG Vahanvati, and three CBI officers for allegedly conspiring to save the UPA-I government by misusing CBI. After the CBI special court decided in March 2012 that it has no power to order an inquiry, Chaturvedi on November 3, 2012, filed a complaint before special judge Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal, on Thursday, asked the Tilak Marg police for a status report.

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