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Jaya Bachchan in the dock over false affidavit case

January 25, 2011 01:31 IST

Well-known actress turned Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan is once again in the dock for allegedly swearing a false affidavit about the properties owned by her and her megastar husband Amitabh Bachchan.

Lucknow district judge Shivanand Misra on Monday issued notice to Jaya Bachchan to explain why she should be criminally prosecuted for concealing certain properties owned by her husband in the statutory affidavit submitted by her together with the nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha bye-election way back in 2006.

Jaya has been summoned to the court on February 3, the next date for hearing in the case, that could cost Jaya her prized Rajya Sabha status, disclosed advocate Sangam Lal Pande, who has been spearheading the legal battle.

This follows a long cat and mouse sequence between Jaya and complainant Ameer Haider, a lesser known Congress leader from Barabanki where the undeclared plots of agriculture land were purchased by the Bachchans.

It began with Haider's initial complaint to the Election Commission on June 28, 2006, regarding mention of only one plot owned by Amitabh Bachchan in Barabanki and concealment of two other agricultural plots there.

The complaint was forwarded to the principal secretary of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, who had been the returning officer of the Rajya Sabha bye-election.

Interestingly, Jaya found a convenient alibi claiming that the mention of those two plots was omitted simply because the mutation of the plots had not been done at the time of filing of the affidavit for Rajya Sabha.

She claimed that while the affidavit was filed on June 1, 2006, the mutation was done on July 4, 2006.

However, this plea was turned down not only by Barabanki district magistrate in his report dated July 15, 2007, but in a subsequent order of the Supreme Court on March 31, 2008, confirming the date of execution of the sale deed and not mutation as relevant for purposes of ownership of property.

Finally, the UP Vidhan Sabha secretary directed the Lucknow senior superintendent of police to register a criminal case against Jaya under section 125 A of the Representation of People's Act and section 177 of the Indian Penal Code.

However when no case was actually lodged, Ameer Haider moved an application under the Right to Information Act following which the SSP pleaded that a legal opinion was sought from the district government counsel (civil) and district government counsel (criminal) as well as the joint director (prosecution), both of whom recommended registration of a criminal case.

However, when the case was still not registered, Haider sought the intervention of Lucknow chief judicial magistrate, who held that since it was not a "cognizable offence", he was not in a position to direct the police to register the case.

An unrelenting Haider eventually moved an appeal before Lucknow district judge, who on Monday not only overruled the CJM, but also summoned Jaya on February 3.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow