Provident fund scam accused judges get bail

Ghaziabad, March 31: A CBI court here granted bail to six judges accused in the provident fund (PF) scam case and adjourned the hearing to April 13.

The CBI lawyer opposed the bail but the protest was set aside. Agreeing with the defence lawyers’ plea the court of Special CBI judge Additional District Judge A.K. Singh granted bail to the accused judges.

In the meantime, the bail application of Sushma Asthana, the wife of main accused Asutosh Asthana who is dead, was rejected. The application of one accused judge R.P. Yadav who requested the court to order reinvestigation of the case was also rejected.

Earlier, the defence lawyers for the judges advocated for bail. However, the CBI lawyer V.K. Sharma pleaded that bail not be granted to the judges. The objection of CBI lawyer was ruled out and the CBI court granted bail on condition of furnishing two bail bonds of Rs.1 lakh each and a surety of any type of immovable property.

In their defence, the lawyers argued mainly in the discrepancy in the PF scam figures.

The six judges accused in the Rs.6.58 crore Provident Fund scam — R.P. Yadav, R.P. Mishra, R.N. Mishra, R.S. Chaubey, Arun Kumar and A.K. Singh were present in the court and remained sitting on the last benches of the court room till the end of the day. The accused judges sought time to furnish the bail bonds that was allowed by the court and were allowed to move free.

About Rs.6.58 crore was fraudulently withdrawn from the Provident Fund accounts of class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad district court. The infamous scam occurred between 2001 and 2007, spanning seven years. The scam was exposed after special CBI judge Rama Jain lodged a criminal case against 70 persons at Kavi Nagar police station on Feb 15, 2008. No judge was, however, named in the FIR.

While Ashutosh Asthana, the key accused who died in Dasna Jail on Nov 18, 2009, had named 36 judges of Supreme Court, high court and district courts, the apex court permitted the CBI to prosecute only six of them, now retired. The bail application of the deceased wife Sushma Asthana was rejected.

The CBI claimed to have found details in the manner in which the hard-earned PF money of class III and IV employees of Ghaziabad courts was illegally siphoned out and lavishly spent on furniture, crockery, mobiles, electronic gadgets and appliances, laptops, rail tickets, taxi fare and other luxury items for the judges.