Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Wednesday told the Supreme Court there was no evidence to prove that Narendra Modi was paid money by big corporate houses when he was the Gujarat chief minister. Rohatgi, who represented the government in the Birla-Sahara diaries case, argued that if such documents were accepted as legal evidence then no one in the country would be safe, reported ANI.
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, who had filed the petition, asked the apex court to order an investigation into the matter. He argued that there was evidence to prove that public officials were paid bribes in the case. However, the top court said it was scrutinising the integrity of the diaries and not the I-T Settlement Commission order that granted Sahara immunity from prosecution.
Earlier, the top court had ruled that there was insufficient evidence to make a case against the prime minister. Bhushan had then accused the judge hearing the case of a conflict of interest. According to Bhushan, the papers were also the subject of an institutional cover-up, involving a range of state institutions and agencies.
The Sahara documents include 11 pages of “payment entries”. These list leaders, who allegedly received bribes from the two companies, from parties across the political spectrum – the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Shiv Sena and Lok Janshakti Party.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that Modi was linked to the Sahara diaries scandal. On December 21, Gandhi said that documents seized by tax officials during raids proved that Modi had taken bribes from the Sahara and Birla groups when he was chief minister of Gujarat. “We want a probe into Sahara-Birla diaries. Let there be an inquiry,” party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan had said.
However, Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, whose name also features in that list, had rejected all allegations. “It is all hearsay. There is no iota of truth in the allegations,” she had said.