The Ghaziabad District Judge's conduct today came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which sought his explanation for allegedly interfering in the trial in the Uttar Pradesh provident fund scam case in which names of judges including one from the apex court surfaced.
The apex court took serious note of the allegation that District Judge Vishnu Chandra Gupta was causing hindrance to the CBI in prosecuting the case.
"We are seized of the matter. It is the direct interference in the course of justice as it is monitored by us," a bench comprising Justices D K Jain, V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi said, while issuing notice to Gupta seeking his response within four weeks.
However, the bench, which issued notices to the 70 accused on the plea of the CBI for shifting the trial in the case outside Uttar Pradesh, preferrably to Delhi, declined at this stage to make public the status report filed by the agency on July 28 in the over Rs 20 crore scam.
"We have not yet closed the case. Whether we will decide to give it (report to advocates) or not, we will pass a final and detailed order. We will take note of your submission for making it public," the bench said.
The CBI, which had read out a part of the report submitted in the sealed cover, had said there was "no evidence" against 17 judges and there was lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute the remaining 24 judicial officers in the case.
In the status report, the CBI has reportedly said that the apex court judge, Justice Tarun Chatterjee (since retired) is among the 24 judicial officers against whom there is "no prosecutable" evidence.
The chargesheet, filed by the CBI, has also named six retired district judges out of which three of them, Ravindra Kumar Mishra, Ajay Kumar Singh and Radhey Shyam Chaubey, were elevated to the Allahabad High Court.
The other three judges were, Ram Prasad Mishra, R P Yadav and Arun Kumar.
While issuing notices to accused on the CBI plea for shifting the trial of the case, the bench asked them to respond as to "why the trial be not transferred from a special CBI court in Ghaziabad to a CBI court outside the state".
The CBI submitted that trial of the case should be shifted out as the there are 25 class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad District Court who are crucial witnesses and are likely to be influenced.
Five accused who have been declared as absconder in the case were Jaya Asthana, Arun Kumar Mishra, Radhey Shyam (both class III employees of Ghaziabad Court) and Sharwan Kumar and Lokesh Kumar Sharma (both class IV employee of Ghaziabad Court).