HC admits petition against Mayawati in Taj corridor case

The Allahabad High Court today admitted a petition challenging erstwhile Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar's refusal to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute Mayawati and her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the alleged Taj Corridor scandal.

On June 5, 2007, a special CBI court had dropped the proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui in the absence of prosecution sanction which was sought by the CBI.

The Lucknow bench, comprising justices Uma Nath Singh and Satish Chandra, today fixed December 18 as the next date of hearing on the PIL, filed by a local lawyer Sachindra Pratap Singh seeking a directing for quashing the order of the then UP Governor T V Rajeswar dated June 3, 2007.

After hearing the maintainability of the petition, the court also directed the respondents to file their reply by the next date of hearing.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the CBI to proceed in the matter in accordance with the law.

"It has been contended in the PIL that the protection under section 197 of the CrPC was available on a very limited ground," petitioner's counsel C B Pandey said.

Under this provision, the Governor was required to examine whether prima facie case was not made out against the accused persons and whether it was committed during service in the discharge of official duty, Pandey said.

The petitioner claimed that the Governor cannot examine the case on merit and evaluate the evidence.

The Mayawati government had granted sanction to construct a shopping mall and some other centres in the Taj corridor at a big public cost by allegedly violating rules.

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