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THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a PIL which sought an independent inquiry into the alleged amassing of unaccounted wealth by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family members. Justices A R Lakhsmanan and Altamas Kabir reserved its order after hearing five-hours arguments put forward by a battery of senior lawyers fielded by Mr Yadav and the petitioner’s counsel K T S Tulsi. Questioning the maintainability of the petition, senior counsels Harish Salve, Rakesh Dwivedi, Ashok Desai and Rohinton Nariman submitted that the PIL was motivated as the petitioner Vishwanath Chaturvedi was a Congress activist and was aimed at embarrassing Mr Yadav in view of the ensuing elections to the assembly. Senior counsel Tulsi, appearing for the petitioner, furnished in the court what he claimed to be the income-tax returns of Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family, which indicated that the chief minister had disclosed assets to the tune of Rs 30 crore. This apart, he alleged that the CM had several benami assets and transactions that ran into more than a 100 crore. According to the petitioner, as per the declaration made by Mr Yadav in 1977, his total assets were only Rs 79,000 and the accumulation of such massive property over the years only substantiated the allegation that Mr Mulayam, who had been the chief minister three times, had abused his official position to accumulate the disproportionate wealth. Besides Mr Yadav, the petition had sought an investigation by the CBI or any other independent investigating agency into the assets of his sons Akhilesh Yadav, Pradeep Yadav and daughter-in-law Dimple. Interestingly, during the marathon arguments, while Mulayam’s counsel produced photographs and a purported identity card of the petitioner Vishwanath Chaturvedi to prove that he was an active Congress activist, Mr Tulsi refuted the allegations on behalf of the petitioner with some vehemence. Accusing Mr Yadav and the UP Government of producing a forged identity card to level insinuations against the petitioner, Mr Tulsi said that Chaturvedi was willing to go to jail if the allegations of his being a Congress activist were proved. Senior counsel Rohinton Nariman who appeared for Pradeep Yadav submitted that there was no public interest involved in the petition and it was filed to settle political scores. Another senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi submitted that even the gifts given to Mr Yadav’s daughter-in-law by her father at the time of marriage have been included in the list of assets owned by the Chief Minister to embarrass him. Counsel Vishwanath Shetty, appearing for the Union Government, in response to a query from the Bench, however said that at this stage the Centre had nothing to submit in the matter. The Bench then reserved its order on the petition.

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