'My husband was murdered to protect vested interests' | india | Hindustan Times
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'My husband was murdered to protect vested interests'

india Updated: Oct 19, 2009 20:38 IST

Sushma Asthana, the wife of dead court official Ashutosh Asthana, has alleged her husband was murdered inside the jail "to protect some vested interests" and has demanded a CBI probe.

Asthana, the key to the multi-crore provident fund (PF) scam in which some judges of the higher judiciary were named, collapsed inside the Dasna jail on Saturday and died.

Sushma, a co-accused in the case, said her husband was not suffering from any major ailment.

Speaking to IANS after coming out of jail to attend the cremation of her husband, Sushma termed her husband's death Saturday as "the outcome of a deep rooted conspiracy in collusion with jail authorities".

"Since the case involved high profile judges, the gravity of the case was very sensitive, and he had apprehended a serious threat to his life and wanted the case to be transferred to any court in Delhi," she said.

"He was murdered inside the jail to protect some vested interests. A CBI probe is a must to expose those vested interests," she said.

The circumstances leading to the death of Ashutosh Asthana have raised several questions.

In his statement before the trial court, Asthana named seven judges on whose alleged verbal instructions he used to withdraw cash from the provident fund accounts of staff of the Ghaziabad court illegally.

He also named seven high court judges who he alleged were benefitted by him in cash or kind.

Asthana was in judicial custody since April 2008. The crime was detected in February and an FIR lodged by then ADJ Rama Jain in the Kavi Nagar police station.

He joined as a clerk in Ghaziabad courts on Feb 9, 1993, and was elevated to the post of central Nazir in February 2008.

On April 28, 2008, Asthana recorded his statement before the trial court in Ghaziabad and named 36 judges as alleged beneficiaries but the testimony was yet to be concluded.

"The statement recorded is an admissible testimony but not sufficient evidence to prosecute any person. Since it was a statement of a co-accused, it needs further evidence. At this stage it is difficult to say whether any named judge could be benefitted. The court and the prosecution is to submit more evidence to corroborate his statement," a senior lawyer S.P. Chaudhary told IANS.