The Supreme Court on Friday said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati should reimburse the public exchequer the money spent on putting up elephant statues in Lucknow and Noida.
“This is our tentative view that Madam Mayawati reimburse the public exchequer all the money spent on these elephants,” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
The court was hearing a plea seeking direction to restrain her from spending public money on building statues.
Petitioner Ravi Kant had sought recovery of the amount spent on statues in memorial parks dedicated to BSP founder Kanshi Ram in Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, the apex court had passed various interim orders and directions in which the issue of environmental concern was also raised.
Further, there was also a direction to the Election Commission that during the election the elephants built in the park have to be covered.
The petitioner has alleged that crores of rupees were used from the state budget for 2008-09 to glorify Mayawati who was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna, posted the matter for final hearing on April 2.
Following the apex court order, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav Friday said BSP’s lawyers will present their side before the Supreme Court.
The SP and the BSP have recently forged an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.
“I don’t have full information about this. The court might have made some observations. BSP’s lawyers will put their side in the court,” Yadav said.
Attacking the BJP without taking its name, the SP chief said, “A statue is going to be installed in the Lok Bhavan here. We will also install a statue of SP leader Ram Sharan Das there.”
He was referring to the Yogi Adityanath government’s plan to install a 25-feet statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Lok Bhawan, which houses the chief minister’s office, in the state capital.
(With agency inputs)