Ujjain professor’s murder trial shifted to Nagpur


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Wednesday transferred the trial in the killing of professor H.S. Sabharwal from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Nagpur in Maharashtra, with a direction for its completion within two months.

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While ordering the inter-state transfer of the trial, a bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P. Sathasivam also directed for a change of the public prosecutor in the case.

The order came on a petition by the son of the slain Ujjain professor, Himanshu Sabharwal, who apprehended that a free and fair trial was not possible in Madhya Pradesh.

The bench also clarified that its order for the transfer would not mean that it had gone into the merit of the allegation made by the slain professor’s family.

A teacher at Ujjain’s Madhav Government Inter College, 61-year-old Sabharawal was assaulted, allegedly by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the youth wing of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), on Aug 28, 2006, and died immediately later.

The professor had invalidated a students union election, leading to the protests from the ABVP that turned ugly.

Himanshu in his petition said that owing to the political links of the alleged murderers with the Madhya Pradesh government, the state police were not prosecuting them properly and were giving them enough gateway to escape conviction.

In his petition to the court, Himanshu expressed the apprehension that he would not get justice in the state as the trial was being conducted to “give clean chit to the accused” who happen to be the leaders of the youth wing of the ruling BJP.

On Himanshu’s plea, the apex court July 11, 2007 halted the trial in an Ujjain sessions court, wondering “if they (the state government) have made a mockery of justice.”