Taj corridor scam: SC gives reprieve to Mayawati

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New Delhi, Oct 10: The Supreme Court today gave a reprieve to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in connection with the 175-crore-rupee Taj Corridor case, by refusing to direct state Governor T V Rajeshwar for granting sanction to prosecute her.

Rejecting a plea made by advocate Ashok Aggarwal, a Special Bench headed by Justice S B Sinha said, “It cannot hear Aggarwal's application as the matter was beyond its purview."

Aggarwal had challenged the Governor's refusal to sanction her prosecution.

Earlier, the apex court had reserved its judgement on an application filed by the amicus curiae in the case challenging the order of the Governor refusing sanction to prosecute Mayawati under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha, S H Kapadia and B K Jain had reserved its verdict after hearing the amicus Kishan Mahajan and Solicitor General G E Vahanvati on behalf of the Centre.

Despite the court directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge to prosecute Mayawati, Rajeshwar on June 3 refused permission to prosecute her saying there was no evidence.

Besides Mayawati, the other accused in the scam are former Uttar Pradesh Environment Principal Secretary R K Sharma Sharma and Rajendra Prasad, an under secretary and a former IAS officer V K Gupta.
The CBI has been probing the case over the past three years, under direct monitoring of the Supreme Court. In November 2006, it set aside the CBI's status report seeking closure of the case.

The Taj Corridor Project proposed to give a facelift to the areas surrounding Agra's major monuments along the Yamuna. Included in the venture was a blueprint for a swanky shopping mall.

The plan was put forward by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and consultancy firm German Technical Cooperation in 2001. It was part of a series of proposals collectively referred to as the 'Environment Management Plan - Agra'.

Under the project, the CPCB had conceptualised a heritage corridor covering five historical monuments, including Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Ram Bagh, Etmad-ud-Daula's tomb and Chini ka Rauza.

All this was in disregard of the guidelines laid down by the Environment Ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The grandiose scheme fell to pieces when it came under media scrutiny in mid-June 2003.


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