The 16-year-old daughter of Ghaziabad provident fund scam accused Ashutosh Asthana was arrested and kept in jail for three months last year.
Ashutosh Asthana died under suspicious circumstances, in Ghaziabad’s Dasna Jail, last Saturday.
Sakshi Asthana, now 17, was arrested by the Ghaziabad police in February 2008, shortly after both her parents were named in the first information report (FIR) registered in connection with the multimillion-rupee scam.
The police released the teenager in April 2008, after they could not produce any evidence against her. They termed the arrest a case of ‘mistaken identity’.
As a result of her imprisonment, Sakshi missed her Class X boards. “After the scam broke, no school was willing to admit her. Now she pursues her studies through correspondence,” said Shirish Asthana, Ashutosh Asthana’s brother.
“Sakshi was a minor, as per her school certificates. We tried to prove her innocence but no one heard us. She cannot forget the time she spent in the female barracks at Dasna Jail.”
The police say they mistook Sakshi, nicknamed Chanchal, for Chanchal Kumar, a male accused.
“Due to the pressure of the case, some people were found to be mistakenly lodged at Dasna Jail for at least three months and later released,” said CP Singh, a former Ghaziabad police circle officer, who was responsible for the filing of the chargesheet in the case.
However, Asthana’s lawyer SC Saxena said the police had intended to proceed against Sakshi specifically.
“In the FIR, Ashutosh Asthana has been mentioned as Chanchal’s father, how can the police say it was a case of mistaken identity?”
Ghaziabad Police chief Akhil Kumar declined to comment on the issue, saying the case predated his joining.