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    PF scam: CBI indicts ex-SC judge, 23 other judges

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    PF scam: CBI indicts ex-SC judge, 23 other judges

    Post by Admin on Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:11 am

    PF scam: CBI indicts ex-SC judge, 23 other judges

    Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 28, 2010, 09.48pm IST
    NEW DELHI: This is
    the biggest ever indictment of the country's judiciary. An extensive
    CBI probe into the fradulent withdrawal of Rs 6.58 crore from the
    provident fund accounts of class III and IV employees in the Ghaziabad
    district court, has found a former Supreme Court judge along with 23
    other sitting and retired judges of Allahabad High Court and lower
    court judges guilty of misdemeanour.

    After investigating as
    many as 47 judges for their alleged role in the scam, the CBI on
    Wednesday submitted a report to the Supreme Court detailing the
    misdemeanor and acts of omission and commission of those found guilty.

    Though
    the judges in question are being let off because of lack of
    "prosecutable evidence", the findings of CBI probe can jolt those who
    play down the growing instance of irregularities in judiciary, saying
    that the phenomenon was limited to lower rungs.

    The report
    perused by a Bench comprising Justices D K Jain, V S Sirpurkar and G S
    Singhvi contained the name of Justice Tarun Chatterjee, who retired on
    January 14 this year after nearly five and a half years as SC judge.

    Though
    the former SC judge had denied any role in the wrong doing during the
    questioning done with prior permission of the then CJI, the CBI has
    said he had committed a "folly" which was an "indiscretion without any
    criminal intent". The Bench deferred a decision on the request from
    counsel Prashant Bhushan to make CBI's findings public.

    Attorney
    General G E Vahanvati informed the Bench that the report was also being
    given to Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and Allahabad High Court
    Chief Justice for taking action on the administrative side against the
    24 judges, who were found to have committed acts of commission and
    omission but were not being proceeded against due to lack of
    "prosecutable evidence".

    What was worse, the AG vehemently
    argued for transfer of the trial of the PF scam from Ghaziabad to Delhi
    while accusing the sitting district judge of interfering with the trial
    by attempting to rope in the Uttar Pradesh Police as prosecution in the
    case and asking CBI to take a back seat despite the agency having been
    entrusted the task of investigation by the apex court.

    Vahanvati
    explained that if the district judge, under whose administrative
    jurisdiction the CBI judge conducting the trial functions, was to take
    such a stand, then the trial would be vitiated. More so, because the
    CBI has already chargesheeted six judges along with 72 others in the
    scam.

    The Bench immediately stayed further trial proceedings
    before the special judge (CBI) in the PF scam that was spread from the
    year 2001 to 2008 with the accused, Asuthosh Asthana, as treasury
    officer playing a key role. The whistle on the scam was blown by the
    special judge, Ghaziabad, Rama Jain, who filed a complaint on February
    15, 2008. Asthana died under mysterious circumstances in Dasana jail in
    September last year.

    If
    it questioned the behaviour of 24 judges, then CBI also gave a clean
    chit to 17 other judges, including Justice S C Nigam of Allahabad HC,
    against whom it found no material evidence.

    "In respect of 24
    judges/judicial officers, sufficient prosecutable evidence was not
    available warranting their prosecution. A CBI report has been sent to
    the competent authorities for appropriate action against them for
    various acts of commission and omission," the agency said.

    The
    CBI has found details of the heartless 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.

    Those indicted
    district judges, who headed the Ghaziabad judiciary during the scam
    period, had almost made it a `way of life' to burn holes in low-grade
    employees' PF accounts not only for purchase of luxury items, but even
    for photography and video-recording of family functions and marriages.

    "About
    500 strips of negatives of the photographs, one CD and two mini video
    cassettes said to be related to the functions of various members of
    judiciary were recovered," CBI sources told TOI quoting from an earlier
    status report submitted to the SC.

    "Out of the proceeds of
    crime, R P Mishra, R P Yadav, R N Mishra, A K Singh, R S Chauney and
    Arun Kumar -- who were district judges at various periods -- obtained
    valuable things/services in the form of monthly ration, fruits,
    vegetables, sweets, jewellery, clothing, saris, expensive electronic
    goods like computers, TV, fridge, washing machine, mobile phones,
    crockery items etc, availed taxis, transportation of goods and wooden
    furniture in their houses," the CBI said.

    It is not that these judges
    could not have afforded mobile phones. But, as these came free, they
    seldom flinched in accepting freebies provided by Asthana courtesy the
    PF money of unsuspecting employees, the CBI found. "As per Asthana, he
    had provided about 60-70 mobile phone instruments to various members of
    the judiciary," the agency said.

    Asthana, who as the treasury
    officer was tasked to safeguard the PF money of the employees,
    allegedly did not think twice before opening the strings of the
    illegally filled purse to meet the expenses for transporting articles
    -- furniture, crockery, utensils which again were bought from the PF
    money -- to the residences of the judges.

    "Several invoices
    containing entries in respect of trucks/vehicles provided in last six
    years containing about 35 entries related to Asthana, sent to various
    judges of higher and subordinate judiciary have been found," CBI
    claimed. The trucks had an unbelievably smooth passage through states
    before reaching their destinations mainly because they were accompanied
    by a judicial certificate.

    "Four
    original certificates said to be issued by Chief Judicial Magistrate,
    Ghaziabad, certifying that the truck numbers mentioned in the
    certificate were carrying the articles of members of judiciary, which
    were given to the truck driver for smooth passage of goods while
    passing several states, have also been recovered," it said.

    CBI
    also claimed to have recovered 28 bills of sale of crockery to Asthana
    and the monogram of the district judge, Ghaziabad, for the year
    2006-07. It has also found that Asthana allegedly picked up 43 taxi
    bills of judges and paid them from the PF money.

    "About 540
    assorted slips, bills, pieces of papers, sketches etc. were got
    recovered from the carpenter from his wife. These bills pertain to
    purchase of various raw material for furniture items during last seven
    years," the CBI said. This probably completes the chain -- making of
    furniture and their transportation to the residences of the judges far
    away from Ghaziabad.

    The
    carpenter, who made the furniture, appears to have impressed the judges
    with his skill, for he was called to the residences of the judges with
    fresh orders and he answered these calls travelling with rail tickets
    purchased from the PF money.

    He was called to the judges'
    residences away from Ghaziabad in Lucknow and Allahabad as many as 17
    times and his train tickets were allegedly bought from the PF money,
    the agency suspected.


    TRUTH SHALL ALWAYS PREVAIL
    Milap Choraria Editor: Suchna Ka Adhikar / RTI TIMES
    National Convenor :
    Movement for Accountability to Public (MAP)
    http://milapchorari a.tripod. com/msp

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