Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Monday he was keeping a “close watch” on the PF scam case in which the prime accused died in a jail in Ghaziabad, and promised to ensure a “proper enquiry” into it.

“Yes, I am keeping a close watch on that and [will] ensure that there is a proper enquiry and I am getting reports on that,” Mr. Moily told NDTV when asked whether he was taking a close look at the enquiry into the case and taking it as some sort of a benchmark case.

He said the nation would like to know the truth behind the death of accused Asutosh Asthana, a court staff and the prime accused in the Rs. 23-crore scam in which the names of a number of higher and lower judiciary judges, including that of a judge of the Supreme Court, had cropped up.

“Any conspiracy or anything, which led to his death...I think the public would... the nation would like to know the real truth behind it,” Mr. Moily said when asked about the possibility of conspiracies behind Asthana’s death.

“Really shocking”

He said the death of Asthana was “really shocking” and “needs to be thoroughly probed into,” but refused to accept that this could derail the process of investigation into the scam.

“I don’t think it [the investigation] should be derailed. After all, the State government should take more interest. I don’t think the death of an accused should derail [the investigation],” he said adding that he did not have any exact information about what really happened.

Graft in judiciary

Asked whether he was concerned about corruption in a section of the judiciary, the Minister said, “...we are seriously concerned about it.”

Mr. Moily said the government would bring in a comprehensive Bill in the winter session of Parliament next month to ensure accountability and standard in judiciary.

“We need to introduce lots of systems to ensure accountability and standard among the judiciary. That is why... in winter session... we hope to come out with a very comprehensive bill,” Mr. Moily said.

He said the government would like to replace the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968 with a new comprehensive bill named ‘Judicial Accountability and Standard Bill, 2009.’

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