Supreme Court may transfer Sabharwal murder trial to Nagpur

March 7th, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday appeared set to transfer to a Nagpur court the trial in the murder of Ujjain professor H.S. Sabharwal with a direction to complete it within eight months. A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam expressed its willingness to transfer the trial to Nagpur, while reserving its order on a petition by the slain professor’s son Himanshu Sabharwal, who sought transfer of the trial outside Madhya Pradesh.

Himanshu had pleaded that the due to the political links of the alleged murderers of his father with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Madhya Pradesh, the state police were not prosecuting them and were giving them enough leeway to escape conviction.

He expressed the apprehension that he would not get justice in the state as the trial was being conducted to “give a clean chit to the accused persons”, who happen to be leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the youth wing of the BJP.

On July 11, 2007, the apex court had on Himanshu’s plea halted the trial in the murder case in an Ujjain sessions court and wondered “if they (the state government) has made mockery of the justice”.

Professor Sabharawal, a teacher at the Government Madhav Inter College in Ujjain, was allegedly badly beaten by a group of ABVP activists during the student union election on Aug 28, 2006.

Himanshu, in his petition, told the court that his father succumbed to his injuries in the college in front of over 70 policemen, including senior police officers of the rank of assistant superintendent of police and a local sub-divisional magistrate, deployed on poll duty.

He lamented that the police had refused to register a case of murder following his father’s death and alleged that the trial was not being conducted fairly.

Despite several crucial witnesses retracting from their original statements, the Ujjain court has refused to declare them hostile, Himanshu contended, adding that this would have an adverse effect on the trial.

His counsel also pointed out several other lacunae in the trial, prompting the court to issue notice to the state government.

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