Relief for Mayawati in cash garland case

Allahabad: Bringing huge relief to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the Allahabad High Court Monday rejected a plea for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the money garland gifted to her at a rally here last week.

A division bench of Chief Justice Amitabh Lala and Justice Anil Kumar dismissed the public interest litigation (PIL) on grounds of the petitioners failing to furnish any supportive evidence on the demand for a CBI investigation.

The PIL was moved jointly by three lawyers practicing in the high court here.

The garland, estimated to have been made with 50,000 notes of Rs.1,000 denomination each making it worth Rs.5 crore in cash, was given to her at a massive rally to mark 25 years of the Bahujan Samaj Party on March 15.

The court also declined to look into the charge of “misuse of government machinery and funds” for the rally, which appeared to have drawn a huge crowd of about 500,000 people. The petition alleged that the rally had cost the state exchequer nearly Rs.200 crore.

The money garland gifted by the Karnataka unit of the BSP put Mayawati in the national spotlight with political parties joining hands to condemn the extravagance.

In what is being seen as damage control, another money garland, worth about Rs.18 lakh, was given to Mayawati the next day itself on March 16. This is learnt to have been organised by her close aide and minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui as an attempt to deflect attention from the first garland that was dismantled, sources said.

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