Supreme Court said today, Mayawati has to return the crores she had spent, installing hundreds of elephant statues in the parks of Lucknow and Noida.
The elephant is the symbol of her Bahujan Samaj Party and public funds cannot be used to promote it, contended a petition which the court was hearing. “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. “Pay all the money from your pocket,” the Chief Justice said.
Her bitter rival, Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav had claimed that she had spent nothing less than 40,000 crore. Mayawati had denied the allegations, but she had not revealed the amount spent on memorials.
The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna, will hear the case next on April 2. During her stint in power from 2007 to 2012, Mayawati had built memorials to Dalit icons and embellished hundreds of parks with statues not only of elephants, but also her own and that of her mentor Kanshi Ram.
Several appeals were filed in courts for what the petitions said were blatant misuse of public money. The Congress, which was in the opposition, alleged that she was even planning to build statues of her family members.