Three years after she was lodged at Dasna prison in Ghaziabad in connection with the Rs 6.58 crore Ghaziabad provident fund (PF) scam, Sushma Asthana — wife of prime accused Ashutosh Asthana — managed to secure a bail order from the Allahabad High Court. Bail was also granted to her mother Savitri.
As per the High Court order, both the accused would be required to furnish a personal bond and two sureties of equal amount as deemed fit by a local court. Asthana is presently lodged at Dasna district prison where her husband, Ashutosh, had died under mysterious circumstances in October 2009.
"We had pleaded that the accused were not in a position to tamper with evidences or influence witnesses, if granted bail. Their old age and their period of judicial custody were also considered by the court in granting the bail," Asthana's advocate Ranjeet Asthana told Hindustan Times from Allahabad. Her lawyers had previously filed a bail application at the High Court, which was rejected in November 2010. After a fresh bail application in April this year, the High court granted her bail on May 19.
Asthana's family members told Hindustan Times that they were arranging the personal bond amount for her release at the earliest. "It is a highlighted case where no one is ready to help. It is becoming difficult for us to arrange for the personal bond amount," said a family member.
During the scam, different amounts belonging to the general provident fund accounts of class 4 employees at the Ghaziabad court treasury were found fraudulently withdrawn between 2000 and 2008. After the PF scam was unearthed, prime accused Ashutosh Asthana had named around 36 judges and judicial officers as the alleged beneficiaries of the siphoned-off amount.
In July 2010, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a supplementary chargesheet against 78 accused, including six former judges who later surrendered before the Ghaziabad CBI court.