Mayawati May Have To Reimburse Money Spent On Her Statues, BSP Symbol's Elephant: Supreme Court

| February 8 , 2019 , 14:17 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday said that BSP chief Mayawati may have to reimburse public money that was spent on installing statues of herself and elephants, the party’s symbol, in Lucknow and Noida.

The top court was hearing a petition that said public money cannot be used for creating one's own statues and for propagating a political party.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Gogoi made it clear that it was a tentative view and that the matter will be heard for a final hearing on April 2.

"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," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The Mayawati government had built multiple Dalit memorials, including statues of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and BSP’s election symbol ‘elephant’, when she was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2012.

According to media reports, a complaint from the vigilance department had alleged a “memorial scam” and said that the state had suffered losses of close to Rs 111 crore in such constructions.

Acting on the complaint, the ED filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to investigate the matter. The report indicted 199 individuals, including Mayawati’s then close aides and former ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha, and 12 of her party MLAs for alleged “wrong-doings’ in the purchase of sandstone for the memorials.

In 2010, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to examine the environmental impact caused by felling of several trees at a park in Noida for the construction of statues and memorials of Dalit leaders by the then Mayawati government.