SC judgment setback to fight against corruption: Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Wednesday said dismissal of an application for probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Birla and Sahara payoffs was a “setback” to the campaign against corruption.

“This judgment is very unfortunate and is a set-back to the whole campaign against corruption and for probity in public life. It is also a black mark on the reputation of the Supreme Court, which had recently distinguished itself by directing independent investigation into the coal scam and the 2G scam,” Prashant Bhushan said in a statement.

“Today’s judgment shows that though the Court has often said that law is equal for everyone and ‘be you ever so high the law is above you’, but it has betrayed this precept in its judgment today,” Bhushan said.

“Supreme Court’s judgment today will leave the cloud of suspicion over all the persons mentioned in these documents. That cloud could only have dissipated if there had been an independent investigation into the payoffs mentioned in these documents,” he added.

In a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to probe the alleged payoffs by the Birla-Sahara groups to him when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Rejecting a plea by NGO Common Cause, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy said the documents produced to seek an FIR against the Prime Minister and other political functionaries including government officials, had no “evidentiary value”.

“If we were to order investigation on the basis of material with no evidentiary value, it would be difficult for constitutional functionaries to function, which would not be safe for democracy,” the Court said.