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UP govt can hand over case of Asthana`s death to CBI: Moily

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 20:13

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Government can hand over investigations into the death of prime accused in the multi-crore PF scam Ashutosh Asthana to CBI, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said on Tuesday.

"If the Uttar Pradesh Government wants, it can hand over the case (death in jail of Ashutosh Asthana, prime accused in the PF scam case) to the far as the PF scam investigations are concerned, there would be no let up or laxity on part of the law officers or the CBI," Moily told reporters here.
He said since it was a case of custodial death, the laid down procedure as per law should be carried out.

"The district magistrate will have to find out whether it is homicide or not. Once it is found that it is a homicide, then the process starts," he added.

When asked who was responsible for Ashutosh Asthana`s death inside the jail, Moily said "we are not holding anybody responsible."

He said as of now it was for the Mayawati government to deal with the investigations into the death of Asthana inside Dasna jail on October 16 and if it wants, it can hand over the case to CBI.

Asthana, a former Gahaziabad court staff, was the prime accused in the Rs 23 crore scam in which names of a number of judges of the higher and lower judiciary came up.
Meanwhile, Asthana`s wife Sushma, who is also an accused in the PF scam and was released from jail on parole to attend the last rights of her husband on Sunday, claimed that he had apprehended threat to his life.

She told media that he had conveyed this to her during a meeting in jail on Karva Chauth on October 7.

Dasna Jail Superintendent Singh said that security has been stepped up for prisoners like Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Koli, accused in Nithari cases involving gruesome rape and murder of young girls and women in NOIDA in UP.

When asked whether the Centre has written to the UP government regarding Asthana`s death, Moily said no communication has been sent.

The Law Minister had yesterday said Asthana`s death was "shocking" and one needs to probe into it.

The Law Minister said as the Supreme Court has already ordered a probe into the matter, it would be looked into "seriously and nobody will be spared".

He said the "nation would like to know" whether there was a conspiracy behind his death.

Maintaining that law will take its own course in the case, Moily said "all that needs to be done (in the case) would be done."

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 20:13

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