In what appeared to be a big setback for Opposition (especially Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi), the Supreme Court has rejected a plea for probing alleged payoffs by the Birla-Sahara group when he was the Gujarat chief minister.
The top court cited weak evidence provided by Bhushan in the case.
The SC’s decision deflates Rahul Gandhi’s warnings late last year that he would cause an “earthquake” by unveiling proof that Modi was corrupt.
Bhushan was seeking investigation on the seized documents which had names of various politicians across party lines, including the name of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit. It allegedly mentioned a payment of Rs 12 crore to the ‘Gujarat CM’.
Adjudicating on the issue, the Supreme Court said the investigation cannot be ordered on the basis of loose sheets of paper.
“If investigation is ordered on the basis of inadmissible evidence like this, constitutional functionaries can’t function and democracy will not be safe,” the court said.
Bhushan, meanwhile, has slammed the Supreme Court’s verdict stating that it will go down as “one of the worst judgement” in the history, adding that it is a black day.
“The verdict shows that when it comes to dealing with the high and mighty, sometimes even the Supreme Court wilts under pressure,” he told a media channel.
Appearing for the government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that there is no evidence to prove that Modi was paid by corporate houses. No one in country would be safe if such documents are accepted as legal evidence, he added.
Earlier too, a Supreme Court bench called the evidence provided by Bhushan as inadequate and had given the petitioner time to provide more evidence. Bhushan had then produced some internal reports of the Income Tax Department on the alleged graft case, however, that too could not stand the top court’s scrutiny.
The “Sahara diaries” is a collection of papers seized by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax department during raids on Sahara-Birla offices in 2013 and 2014.
The BJP has taken a sigh of relief on the dismissal of the plea, which was used by both Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal to corner PM Modi.