New Delhi, Sep 9 (UNI) The Supreme Court today asked the Uttar Pradesh government to inform the court within two weeks whether it is agreeable to a CBI inquiry in the Rs seven crore Ghaziabad district court GPF scam in which 36 judges, including a sitting Supreme Court judge, have been named as beneficiaries.
A bench, comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi, decided to seek the response of the state government on the issue as the consent of the state government was necessary for ordering a CBI probe.
The directions were issued today during the hearing of three petitions filed by former union law minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, Ghaziabad District Courts Bar Association and Transparency International, seeking a CBI probe into the scandal in which Rs seven crore were fraudulently siphoned off from the GPF fund during the period of 2002-2007.
According to District Bar Association, Rs 23 crore were siphoned off and not of Rs seven crore as alleged in the FIR.
The IO of the case has written several letters through the SSP Ghaziabad to DGP Uttar Pradesh, informing him that the local police cannot conduct an investigation into the case as the names of 36 judges had cropped up.
According to the Supreme Court judgement in the Veera Swami case, investigation against a sitting High Court or Supreme Court judge can not be conducted without the prior permission of the Chief Justice of India.
The suggesion that it is a matter for departmental inquiry against the accused person was turned down by the Supreme Court as the judges said both departmental inquiry and criminal investigation can go on simultaneously but the present case requires a criminal probe.
The main accused in the case, Ashutosh Asthana, the suspended treasurer of the district court treasury, presently in jail has named 36 judges as beneficiaries, including 11 judges of High Court and 24 District and Sessions Judges of Ghaziabad.
His statement was recorded under Section 164 CRPC by the special Judge Rama Jain which is admisible as evidence during trial.
There are 83 accused in the case, chargesheet against 75 of them has already been filed and charges against the remaining eight have been dropped.
This is one of the three corruption cases involving judiciary which have recently hit the headlines in the media.
The other two cases are Cash for Judge scam of Punjab and Haryana High Court and initiation of impeachment proceedings by the union government againt the sitting Kolkata High Court Judge Justice Soumitra Sen.
Justice Nirmal Yadav of Punjab and Haryana High Court has already proceeded on leave after her name cropped up in Cash for Judge scam.
The hearing had been adjourned till the third week of October.
UNI SC PD DS1600