New Delhi: In its proceedings so far, the Supreme Court has dismissed documents seized by the income tax department — which Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi referred to in Mehsana on Wednesday to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi for coruption — as “zero”, “fictitious” and “not authentic”.
The documents are part of a PIL filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleging pay-offs by corporate houses to politicians, including Modi during his tenure as Gujarat CM. The court has said the documents were not credible enough for a probe to be ordered.
A bench of Justices JS Khehar and Arum Mishra had on November 25 asked Bhushan to furnish other “credible” evidences to substantiate the allegations against the Prime Minister.
Bhushan had alleged that the documents “reportedly revealed massive bribery” of politicians and officials by the Aditya Birla Group and Sahara over the years. He mentioned that the Sahara documents said a huge cash amount was given to the CM of Gujarat in October and November, 2013.
“Are you relying on Sahara’s documents? They never have genuine documents,” Justice Khehar said.
The court said, “Any suspicion that arouses conscience is a good suspicion but your documents don’t arouse our conscience. We are not satisfied at all… Any corrupt person can make an entry in the name of the Prime Minister, but it cannot be treated as credible evidence.”
Bhushan also alleged that the Birla group paid around Rs 7.8 crore to get environment and forest clearance during January and February, 2012 when Jayanthi Natarajan headed the ministry during UPA’s rule.
“We are not shying away from hearing the case but something authentic must be placed before us… Documents seized from the premises of Birla and Sahara groups are nothing. These are zero. You must bring credible evidence,” the court said while granting Bhushan time till December 14 to place additional evidence. Bhushan, however, failed to produce fresh evidence and sought more time.
When the case was taken up on December 16, Bhushan asked if it was proper for Justice Khehar to hear the case when the file pertaining to his elevation as Chief Justice of India was pending before the PM. The bench, thereafter, adjourned the case to January 11 but strongly disapproved Bhushan’s conduct.