Government stands by Mayawati in corruption case

Government stands by Mayawati in corruption case
New Delhi: Mayawati's getting a huge bonus from the central government in a case that accuses her of corruption.

In August last year, the CBI told the Supreme Court that it has "credible evidence" against the UP Chief Minister whose declared wealth trail-blazed its way from 1 crore in 2003 to 50 crores in 2007. Mayawati attributes her fortune to gifts from her party workers, donated on her birthdays. The CBI has been trying to prove otherwise.

But now, the CBI will find itself up against a tough new opponent. Sources in the union government say it will not file an appeal against a crucial order from Income Tax authorities that favoured Mayawati.  

That order- in August last year - accepted that Mayawati's assets were based on donations and did not need to be taxed. The Chief Minister has used this to bolster her defense.

The timing of the government's decision is suspect. The Budget session of parliament will be a turbulent one, with a united Opposition attacking the government over corruption, and particularly the 2G scam. The winter session of parliament in December ended with less than 10 hours of business being conducted -the Opposition says it will not let Parliament function till the government agrees to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the 2G scam and question ministers and the Prime Minister on why precious spectrum was sold at clearance rates to telecom companies in 2008.  

The political calculations of the centre and Mayawati are obvious - of three Additional Solicitor Generals (ASG), two refused to back the government's stand in the case against her. On Saturday, ASG AS Chandioke gave the government its  13-page opinion stating that there's no point in appealing against Mayawati.