SC directs handing over of viscera of Asthana to CBI in PF scam

      The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to hand over the viscera of Ashutosh Asthana, the prime accused in Uttar Pradesh multi-crore provident fund scam to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Asthana died in judicial custody on Saturday. The apex court also asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to provide adequate protection to the others involved in the case, both accused as well as witnesses. A Ghazaiabad judicial magistrate was asked to conduct an inquiry into Asthana's death and to submit a report within eight weeks. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been probing the scam since September 2008. Earlier this year, the CBI had exposed the misuse of provident fund savings of up to twenty-three crore rupees of class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad courts for the personal luxuries of the judges. In his statement before a CBI court in September last year, Asthana had claimed that thirty-six judges had supported the scam. According to the CBI, about 540 assorted slips, bills, pieces of papers, sketches were recovered from a carpenter. These relate to the purchase of various raw materials for furniture items during the last seven years. It was also alleged that Asthana picked up forty-three taxi bills of judges and paid for it from provident fund money. The Supreme Court entrusted the responsibility of the probe to the Crime Bureau of Investigation after Uttar Pradesh Police failed to investigate the thirty-six judges properly.

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