HC dismisses plea to try Mayawati in Taj case

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Ruling that the petitions were "devoid of merit", the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a bunch of PILs seeking the prosecution of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and her party colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the 2003 Taj Corridor case.

A bench of Justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Ashwani Kumar Singh upheld the judgment of a special CBI court which had dropped proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui in June 2007 as their prosecution was not sanctioned by the then governor, T V Rajeshwar. Six PILs were filed urging the court to quash the orders of the special court and to direct the CBI to take the prosecution to "its logical conclusion".

The CBI, on the instructions of the Supreme Court, had begun investigating the BSP chief, Siddiqui, who had been her environment minister, and others in the Taj Corridor case. It filed a chargesheet in the special court, but sought time to obtain the governor's sanction to prosecute the accused.

On June 3, 2007, the governor declined the sanction, after which the special court dropped proceedings saying that in the absence of sanction to prosecute the two, the court had "no jurisdiction either to take cognizance or to proceed further" in the case.

The High Court Monday observed that "the order passed by the designated court is perfectly in accordance with the law. The petitioners are not entitled to any relief as claimed. All the writ petitions being devoid of merit are hereby dismissed".

While arguing the case, Mayawati and Naseemuddin Siddiqui's counsel Satish Chandra Mishra had said the petitioners are "political personages". C B Pandey, counsel for the petitioners, said they would move the apex court against the judgment.

"The high court has said that the order of the special court was in accordance with law. However, the petition is challenging the decision of the special court on the ground that since there is a proper investigation done, the trial should be carried on and the prosecution should be taken to its logical conclusion. Hence, we will move the Supreme Court against the decision," Pandey said.

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