SC refuses to transfer UP PF scam trial to Delhi

"We do not find any merit in the CBI plea seeking transfer of the case from Ghaziabad to Delhi," a three-judge bench headed by Justice D K Jain said while rejecting the plea.

The bench said it was difficult for it to believe that the Ghaziabad court, which is seized of the matter, will be biased and not be impartial since some of the former colleagues of the judge trying the case were among the accused.

The apprehension of the CBI is "misplaced", said the bench, which also comprised justices V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi.

The case assumes significance as the names of several judicial officers, former and sitting judges of the Allahabad High Court and a former apex court judge, who retired recently, have figured as alleged beneficiaries of the scam involving withdrawal of several crore of rupees from the Ghaziabad treasury.

The CBI had sought shifting of the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi arguing that the case was "first of its kind", which has "shaken the foundation of the judiciary".

The agency had also been apprehending the possibility of the judges, whose names have figured, interfering with the administration of justice and influencing witnesses.

"The paramount consideration is to meet the ends of justice, which should not only be done but it should also seen to have been done," Attorney General G E Vahanvati had argued before the three-judge bench, which had reserved its ruling on the CBI plea on October 28.

"Had they been sitting judges there could have been the chance of influencing the progress of the case and even the evidence is mostly documentary evidence," the bench had observed then.

Vahanvati had contended that the strongest ground for the agency to seek transfer of the trial was the fact that the special judge, holding the trial, might have known the accused judges as colleagues.

The CBI chargesheet had named six retired district judges, out of whom three --Ravindra Kumar Mishra, Ajay Kumar Singh and Radhey Shyam Chaubey--were elevated to the Allahabad High Court.

The other three judges were Ram Prasad Mishra, R P Yadav and Arun Kumar.
There are 70 accused in the case and the scam involves fraudulent withdrawal of money from the PF accounts of class III and IV employees of Ghaziabad District court in which names of judges, including one from the apex court, had surfaced as beneficiaries from the withdrawn money.

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