The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday an application seeking a direction for the constitution of a special investigating team to probe the death of Asutosh Asthana, a key accused and witness in the multicrore Ghaziabad Provident Fund scam. A Bench headed by Justice D.K. Jain will take up the application filed by Nahar Singh Yadav, secretary of the Ghaziabad Bar Association.
On Monday, senior counsel Anil Divan made a mention before a Bench of Justices Jain and H.L. Dattu that, according to newspaper reports, Asthana died under mysterious circumstances on October 17 in the Dasana district jail at Ghaziabad and that the body was cremated. However, according to some reports, the viscera was being preserved. “If it is so, further examination of the viscera is required.” It must be preserved by an independent agency, preferably outside Uttar Pradesh, the application said.
Mr. Divan said the CBI must find out whether the body had been cremated or not. Justice Jain asked counsel appearing for the CBI to take instructions.
It was Mr. Yadav who initially filed a petition for a CBI probe into the scam. The CBI is investigating the case and Asthana named 36 judges of various courts as beneficiaries. It has been asked to file a status report in this case, apart from the reports it already filed.
According to the present application, the doctor at the MMG hospital, Ghaziabad, said “initial inspection shows consumption of poison as cause of death, but whether it was administered to him [Asthana] or he consumed it himself will be known only after post-mortem.”
Quoting media reports, the petitioner said Asthana’s brother alleged that it was a murder.