The Supreme Court on Friday said BSP chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has to refund to the state exchequer the public money spent on her statues party’s symbol elephant at various parks in Lucknow and Noida.
“We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the state exchequer,” said a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi while hearing a 10-year-old petition by advocate Ravi Kant.
The Bench senior counsel Rakesh Khanna, representing Mayawati, to convey its prima facie views to her.
Contending that public money cannot be spent on creating own statues and symbol of one’s political party, Kant alleged that crores of rupees was spent during 2008-09 to glorify then Chief Minister Mayawati. He has also demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
Clarifying that it was its tentative view and the matter would take some time for hearing, the Bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, posted it for final hearing on April 2.
The Bench turned down a request made by senior advocate Satish Mishra, a close aide of the BSP supremo, to post the matter for hearing in May.
The top court – which took up the matter after a long gap – had earlier passed certain interim orders, including those on related environmental issues. It had also asked the Election Commission to cover the elephant statues during elections.
Terming it as arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, the petitioner alleged that the statues were installed at a cost of more than Rs 52 crore at public places by misusing public funds. It had also demanded removal of the statues of Mayawati and her party symbol elephant from public places.