Scared Asthana family wants PF scam probe wound up | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Scared Asthana family wants PF scam probe wound up

A month after the mysterious death of Ashutosh Asthana in jail, his family fears for its life. Nagendar Sharma and Peeyush Khandelwal report.

delhi Updated: Nov 18, 2009 02:08 IST

A month after the mysterious death of Ashutosh Asthana in jail, his family fears for its life.

Asthana was the main accused in a Ghaziabad court provident fund scam, in which Rs 7 crore was withdrawn from the provident fund accounts of lower level court employees, without their knowledge.

Asthana claimed he used the money to buy presents for judges, 36 of whom he named in his confessional statement.
On October 17, Asthana was found dead at Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail. His wife, Sushma, arrested in the scam, is in the same jail. Their three children stay with his younger brother, Sirish.

The Supreme Court had ordered a judicial probe into Asthana’s death on October 20.

The family has, however, already lost hope. “While Asthana was alive, his letters mentioning threats to his life were ignored. What good can be expected now?” asked Sirish.

Asked why he seemed to be withdrawing his demand of an impartial probe into his brother’s death, Sirish replied:“I can’t fight the rich and powerful. I have been receiving threats.”

“We are worried about the safety of our mother, she could be the next target of influential people,” said Asthana’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old Sakshi.