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No security for PF scam witnesses, accused

Nearly four weeks after the Supreme Court’s direction to provide security to witnesses and accused in the multi-crore Ghaziabad provident fund scam, the police have not taken any action, report Nagendar Sharma and Peeyush Khandelwal.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2009 01:15 IST

Nearly four weeks after the Supreme Court’s direction to provide security to witnesses and accused in the multi-crore Ghaziabad provident fund scam, the police have not taken any action.

The prime accused, Ashutosh Asthana, was found dead in mysterious circumstances at a jail here on October 17.

Taking note of an application filed by Nahar Singh Yadav, former President of Ghaziabad Bar Association, the SC asked the police to provide adequate security to the witnesses and accused,” on October 20.

“Police are just taking the matter lightly and the security aspect has been reduced to a mere formality. We will apprise the Supreme Court about the delay,” Yadav told Hindustan Times.

Asthana’s family had alleged he had been made a “scapegoat and murdered, therefore it is extremely important to take the security of those alive, seriously,” he said.

Asthana, in his confessional statement, recorded before a magistrate in June 2008, had named 36 judges as the alleged financial beneficiaries in the Rs seven crore (Rs 70 million) scam between 2001 and 2007.

One of the accused who was lodged at Ghaziabad’s Dasna Jail for a year, and later released on bail, said: “No one has appro-ached us for the security.”

The police said it was doing its duty. “Court orders will be complied with. There are 140 witnesses and accused, each one has to be asked about the kind of security wanted,” said Ghaziabad SSP Akhil Kumar.

Kumar confirmed the CBI has written to the police to provide security cover to the accused and witnesses, named in the chargesheet filed by the Ghaziabad police in 2008.

Ghaziabad Police had filed several charge-sheets naming 75 accused and 34 witnesses. Many accused, including Asthana’s wife Sushma Asthana, are presently lodged at Dasna District Jail at Ghaziabad.

“We will now look into the number of persons involved and the type of security they require,” Kumar said .