Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav failed to get any relief today from the Supreme Court which directed the CBI to go ahead with its inquiry "independently" in the disproportionate assets case against them.
The court, however, dropped the CBI probe against Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav, saying that she was not holding any public office and she was only a private person holding no position.
The apex court said "CBI is an independent body" and it is free to proceed with the probe against Mulayam and his two sons--Akhilesh and Prateek--in accordance with the law.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and H L Dattu refused to alter the March 1, 2007 order for CBI inquiry against them saying that "the proceedings in the review petition cannot be converted into the appeals".
The bench also accepted that its direction in the March 1, 2007 order directing the CBI to place the report of progress into the investigation before the Union Government suffered from "error" and required modification.
The court said it is "not contemplated in the Delhi Police Establishment Act" under which CBI functions that the agency has to file its status report to the government and there was a need for modifying its earlier order.
"We are modifying our order of March 1, 2007 to remove the error in it directing CBI to place the report before the government," the bench said.
The bench said, "Since CBI is an independent body, there is no obligation for it to file the status report before the government".
"CBI, which is probing the case, has to decide what steps it has to take," it said.
While holding that the CBI probe against Mulayam and his sons cannot be dropped, the bench said CBI will take independent action in pursuance to the March 1, 2007 order in accordance with the law.
The bench cleared the UP Chief Minister's wife Dimple from the DA case, saying the "probe against her is liable to be dropped and the review petition filed by her is allowed."
The apex court passed the order almost two years after it had reserved order on February 17 last year on the review petition filed by Mulayam, his sons Akhilesh and Prateek and Dimple.
The court had ordered a CBI inquiry on March 1, 2007 into the alleged accumulation of disproportionate assets by the Yadav family on a public interest litigation (PIL) by an advocate, Vishwanath Chaturvedi, reportedly a Congress leader.
Deviating from the precedent of hearing review petitions in the judges' chambers, the bench had heard the petition in an open court at Yadavs' request.
Seeking a review of the apex court order, Mulayam and his family members had submitted that there was no evidence against them and that they were being harassed by political adversaries.
They had assailed the apex court's earlier order claiming it would "set a dangerous precedent" of allowing political opponents to file "false and frivolous" petitions against their detractors.
Earlier, during the arguments, the Centre, while refraining from going into the merits of the allegations against the Yadavs, had cited a number of judicial pronouncements to drive home the point that the apex court has powers to order a CBI inquiry in "exceptional cases".