Murdered Professor’s Son to Fast-unto-Death for CBI Probe

By Pervez Bari,

Bhopal: Himanshu Sabharwal, son of late Prof. H.S. Sabharwal who was allegedly murdered by a group of students in August 2006 in Ujjain, reiterating his demand for CBI, India’s premier investigating agency, inquiry into his father’s death, has declared that he would go on fast-unto-death if his demand is not met till March 20 by the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Government.

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While welcoming the Supreme Court order to transfer his father’s murder trial case from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to outside the state at Nagpur in Maharashtra, Himanshu said:” It is an incomplete victory”.

Himanshu termed today’s directive a “moral and token” victory but added: “It has not sanctioned retrial or a CBI probe.”

“My other main demand is a CBI inquiry into the case so that a fair trial is conducted in the court and I and my family get real justice”, he averred.

Himanshu emphasized that the CID inquiry conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Police under the BJP Government has many loopholes. ” Merely transferring the case out of Madhya Pradesh would not have much impact. If a judge in Nagpur is going to take a view on the same evidence the purpose of taking the case out of the state may be defeated,” he contended.

He cited Ms Priyadarshini Matto and Ms Jessica Lall murder cases, wherein the accused due to faulty investigations were acquitted by trial courts but later on the High Court reversed the decision saying it rarest of rare cases and awarded capital punishment, to drive home the point that CID probe into his father’s death was lop-sided with an eye to save the accused.

The Supreme Court in its order said the “state has a definite role to play in protecting the witnesses, to start with at least in sensitive cases involving those in power, who have political patronage and could wield muscle and money power, to avert a trial getting tainted and derailed and truth becoming a casualty”.

It may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court also directed to change the public prosecutor in the case. The Bench passed the order on a petition filed by the slain professor’s family alleging that free and fair trial was not possible in Madhya Pradesh.

“We had pleaded for a re-investigation because there are allegations of serious nature in which they have sabotaged, suppressed major evidences,” Himanshu said.

Himanshu air-dashed from New Delhi, where he is engaged in business, to Bhopal on Thursday to address media persons to announce his decision to undertake fast-unto-death in order to pin-down the real culprits of his father’s death and release an “open letter” to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan accusing him of trying to shield the abettors of the heinous crime.

In his letter Himanshu charged Chouhan of first sabotaging the investigations into the murder of his father and then the trial at Ujjain court which was, however, halted later by the Supreme Court. He recalled that in his first reaction to Prof. Sabharwal’s death, Chouhan had called it a “Hadsa” (accident). He has listed in the letter the incidents that he believed were aimed at weakening the trial.

It may be pointed out here that five members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing, face murder charges. All the 54 witnesses had turned hostile in the Ujjain trial court.

Prof. Sabharwal of Ujjain’s Madhav college, died on August 26, 2006 after he was allegedly attacked by ABVP leaders protesting against the cancellation of student union election in the university. The professor had declared the election null and void. Protesting his decision, some students of Madhav College had attacked him, leading to his death.

Replying to a question Himanshu said the fast-unto-death would be undertaken by him either at New Delhi, Bhopal or Ujjain where my father was done to death. ([email protected])