PF scam: court adjourns hearing till March 14

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Friday adjourned till March 14 the hearing of the provident fund (PF) scam involving misappropriation of funds in the accounts of class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad court.

CBI judge AK Singh adjourned the hearing in view of the strike called by the Ghaziabad bar association on Ravidas Jayanti.

A sum of Rs 6.58 crore was fraudulently withdrawn from the PF accounts of class III and IV employees of the Ghaziabad district court between 2001 and 2007.

The scam was exposed after special CBI judge Rama Jain lodged a criminal case against 70 people at Kavi Nagar police station February 15, 2008. No judge was, however, named in the FIR.

While Ashutosh Asthana, the key accused who died in Dasna Jail in mysterious circumstances November 18, 2009, had named 36 judges of the Supreme Court, high court and district courts as accused, the apex court permitted the CBI to prosecute only six of them, now retired.

The CBI claimed to have found details in the manner in which the fund money was illegally siphoned out and lavishly spent on furniture, crockery, mobile phones, electronic gadgets and appliances, laptops, rail tickets, taxi fare and other luxury items for the judges.

62 convicted in fodder scam, 23 jailed

A special CBI court here Friday convicted 62 people, including 27 government officials, in the 1996 multi-million fodder scam and 23 of them were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment ranging from three to five years.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge R.R. Tripathy pronounced the judgment in the case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.8.37 crore from Chaibasa treasury. Of the 62 convicted, 27 are government officials and the rest are suppliers.

The court handed down three to five years of rigorous imprisonment to 23 of those convicted and slapped fines between Rs.20,000 and Rs.4.5 lakh as well.

The quantum of sentence against the remaining convicts will be pronounced Saturday.

The multi-million fodder scam surfaced in 1996 when Jharkhand was part of undivided Bihar. A total of 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand after it was carved out from Bihar in November 2000. The special CBI courts have passed judgement in 32 cases.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra are accused in five cases and trial of the cases are going on in CBI courts of Ranchi.