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SC hands over GPF scam probe to CBI
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 23
The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to probe the Ghaziabad GPF scam, allegedly involving some judges, and submit its report within three months.

A Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat asked the CBI to nominate an investigating officer to lead the probe with the assistance of the Uttar Pradesh government officials and taking infrastructure facilities from that state.

The SC move comes in the wake of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan recommending earlier this month the impeachment of Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen for ''misconduct'' and giving permission to the CBI to question two Punjab and Haryana High Court judges Nirmaljeet Kaur and Nirmal Yadav in a case relating to delivery of Rs 15 lakh in cash at the doorstep of a judge.

Today, the three-Judge Bench, including Justices V.S. Sirpurkar and G.S. Singhvi, said all the documents relating to the case would be microfilmed and deposited with it, while the copies would be handed over to the CBI and the UP government.

Earlier the case was investigated by the UP police, but the petitioners in the scam -- the Ghaziabad Bar Association, Transparency International and former union minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan -- had demanded a CBI probe.

Before ordering the CBI to investigate the case, the apex court had taken the consent of the bureau, the Centre and the state government.

The scam reportedly involves at least Rs 7 crore and 36 judges, including one from the apex court and 11 from Allahabad and Uttarakhand High Courts.

The main accused, Ashutosh Asthana, former treasurer of the Ghaziabad district court treasury, who is at present in jail, has named the judges as beneficiaries of the scam.

On the issue of CBI questioning sitting judges, the apex court said that till date no judge had been made an accused in the case and parameters would change once they were named so.

The CJI and the second senior most judge Justice B N Agrawal had earlier withdrawn from the hearing of the case following accusations that the court was not taking the case seriously as judges were involved.

The CBI said in a press note that it would take over the case records from the UP police “at the earliest and proceed with the investigations.”



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