SC orders transfer of Sabharwal murder case from Ujjain to Nagpur

SC orders transfer of Sabharwal murder case from Ujjain to Nagpur The Supreme Courthas transferred the trial of Professor H S Sabharwal murder case from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Nagpur in Maharashtra. A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam passed the transfer orders on a petition filed by Himanshu Sabharwal, son of the slain professor. The apex court in its 24-page judgement has noted, "The courts have to take a participatory role in a trial. They are not expected to be tape recorders to record whatever is being stated by the witnesses. Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 165 of the Evidence Act confer vast and wide powers on presiding officers of the court to elicit all necessary materials by playing an active role in evidence-collecting." The court also directed that the fees and other expenses of the public prosecutor shall be borne by the state of MP and it shall be open to the public prosecutor to be appointed to seek recall of any witness already examined in terms of Section 311 of CrPC. Earlier, the petitioner had alleged that the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh was sparing no efforts in shielding the culprits who belong the student wing ABVP of the BJP. According to him, most of 51 prosecution witnesses examined so far in the case had turned hostile as they were being intimidated and pressurised by the accused and the state police. The apex court also permitted the petitioner to approach the trial court for recalling the witnesses. According to Mr Sabharwal, the accused were getting VIP treatment in Madhya Pradesh jails and recently state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan remained with Vimal Tomar, an accused in the case, for over half an hour in hospital. The petitioner has also contended that free and fair trial was not possible in Madhya Pradesh till the BJP was in power. In all, more than eight accused including Rajeev Ranjan Akela and Vimal Tomar both ABVP leaders are facing trial for thrashing Prof Sabharwal to death for cancelling the college students' union elections. Sabharwal, who was beaten to death in 2006, was a professor in Madhav college in Ujjain. UNI

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