Mulayam doubts CBI neutrality, wants judicial probe in wealth

NEW DELHI - Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to order a judicial probe into the allegations that he and his family members owned wealth exceeding their legal income.

Senior counsel Harish Salve raised the plea on Yadav’s behalf while also questioning the neutrality of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He termed the agency as a tool of the government for settling scores with political adversaries.

The lawyer made the submission before an apex court bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice R.M. Lodha, which was hearing a bunch of lawsuits, including those by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family members, pleading to the court to review its March 2007 order for a CBI probe into the legality of wealth owned by them.

The apex court in March 2007, while ordering the CBI probe into the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s wealth, had also asked the agency to submit its probe report to the government and take its further direction from the government itself on the next course of action.

After completing its probe, the CBI in October 2007 approached the apex court with its report indicating that there was a case against the Samajwadi Party chief and rather than taking a direction from the government on further action, it said it would like to have it from the apex court itself.

But with the Samajwadi Party supporting the Congress-led government during the July 2008 trust motion and the two parties coming closer, the CBI approached the court, saying that it would rather have the government direct it.

The apex court is also seized of this issue of the CBI’s flip-flops.

Questioning the CBI’s neutrality, Salve contended that since the 1990s, the investigative agency has become a tool in the hands of the government and it was posing a grave risk to the federal structure of the country.

Salve said that had the government made the CBI an autonomous investigative agency by implementing the relevant directions of the apex court in the Vineet Narayan case, he would not have any problem with the agency probing the legality of his client’s wealth.

But with the CBI showing ‘a manifest bias’ in the favour of the ruling party, his client would rather have a judicial scrutiny into the allegations that he and his family members owned assets exceeding their legal income.

The court would continue hearing the arguments in the case Wednesday.


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