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'Transfer 4 judges for fair probe'

india Updated: Dec 23, 2008 00:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Transfer 4 judges for fair probe: SC panel

To enable a fair probe into the Ghaziabad provident fund scam by the CBI, a committee of Supreme Court's senior-most judges has recommended transfer of four high court judges.

The committee (formally known as Supreme Court Collegium) headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, has recommended the transfer of Justices Sushil Harkoli, Tarun Agrawal and R. Mishra of the Allahabad High Court and Justice J.S. Rawat of the Uttarakhand High Court, sources said.

Earlier, Justice A.K. Singh, an additional judge of the Allahabad High Court, was refused confirmation as a permanent a judge after his name cropped up in the scam.

The transfers come three months after the Supreme Court transferred the probe into the scam to the CBI as the Ghaziabad Police said it was difficult for them to investigate the scam involving sitting judges.

The state government, too, had favored a CBI probe.

While transferring the case to the CBI, the court had asked the agency to file a report within three months.

However, it was not clear how the CBI would conduct the probe against the sitting judges, allegedly involved in the scam. Balakrishnan had earlier allowed the Ghaziabad Police to question them through questionnaires.

The provident fund scam, allegedly involving 36 judges, came to light in January 2008 after Ghaziabad District Courts Vigilance Officer reported to the Allahabad High Court about withdrawal of crores of rupees as provident fund advances in the names of some serving and some fictitious employees of class-III and class-IV.

The Allahabad High Court had ordered the Ghaziabad Police to register an FIR in February this year after an inquiry committed confirmed siphoning of money.

In his confessional statement, main accused Administrative Officer Ashutosh Asthana had alleged that a large part of these funds were used for payment of construction material, air conditioners, mobile phones, refrigerators, furniture etc., which were supplied to a number of sitting and retired judges of subordinate court and Allahabad High Court and a Supreme Court Judge.