Supreme Court reserves verdict in Ghaziabad courts’ scam (Lead)

October 28th, 2010 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its verdict on a plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for transfer of trial in the Rs.23-crore Ghaziabad district courts provident fund (PF) scam from Ghaziabad to Delhi.

The apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice G.S. Singhvi also discharged Ghaziabad District and Sessions Judge Vishnu Chandra Gupta, whom the CBI accused of interference to derail the trial by a special CBI court.

The court said it was satisfied by the district and sessions judge’s explanation for seeking certain documents from the CBI court relating to main accused and also the prime witness Ashutosh Asthana.

Asthana died under mysterious circumstances in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad district Oct 17, 2009.

On the transfer of trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati told the court that the provident fund scam was the first case of its kind and had shaken the confidence of public in the judiciary.

When Vahanvati told the court that there were six judges who would be tried, Justice Jain said the entire case was based on documentary evidence.

“The paramount principle to meet the ends of justice is that justice should not only be done but must appear to have been done,” Vahanvati told the court.

He told the court that the trial in this case should also appear to be “fair and impartial”.

When Vahanvati told the court that the transfer of trial was being opposed on the grounds that engaging lawyers in Ghaziabad and bringing them to Delhi would be an expansive proposition, Justice Jain said: “It is not irrelevant if one has to get counsel from outside.”

Opposing the plea for the transfer of trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi, counsel N. Gupta pointed out that all the witnesses were based in Ghaziabad and if they had to be influenced, they would be influenced, irrespective of the trial taking place in Ghaziabad or Delhi.

He said that there was no material on record to justify the transfer of trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi.

The court was told that though the distance between Ghaziabad and Delhi was not much, it would cause great difficulties to the accused and the witnesses.

The investigating agency has named 24 judicial officers in the scam. The accused include three sitting judges of the Allahabad High Court.

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