Pratul Shandilya of Jabalpur is special PP in Sabharwal case

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Nagpur, May 4 (UNI) Pratul Shandilya, a Jabalpur-based lawyer, has been named the new special public prosecutor in the high-profile Prof H S Sabharwal murder case after noted lawyer Majid Memon expressed his inability to accept the brief.

District Judge T V Nalavade named Mr Shandilya as the special PP after counsel for Himanshu Sabharwal, son of Prof Sabharwal, proposed his name and also submitted his letter of consent before the court yesterday. The counsel informed the court that Mr Memon was not in a position to work as special PP in the case because of his busy schedule.

Defence counsel raised an objection to another name being proposed by Mr Himanshu's lawyers. The defence counsel said that the Supreme Court had asked the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Mr Himanshu to propose two names each for special PP, and that Mr Himanshu had exhausted his two options. However, the court accepted Mr Shandilya's name and asked counsel for Mr Himanshu to ensure that Mr Shandilya attended every hearing. Mr Nalavade also directed the Government of Madhya Pradesh to complete the formalities of naming Mr Shandilya as special PP latest by May 14.

Later, District Judge II B A Shaikh, who is hearing the case, turned down the defence plea to allow the six accused - Hemant Dube, Pankaj Mishra, Vishal Rajore, Sudhir Yadav, Shashiranjan Akela and Vinod Tomar - to return to Ujjain to be close to their aged parents.

The court made it clear that it would not grant long adjournments and rejected the custody transfer application. The court posted the case for May 14 and asked the accused persons to be present in court at the next hearing.

Mr Nalavade had finalised Mr Memon's name as special PP for the case on April 25 last after the Government of Madhya Pradesh proposed the names of District Government Pleader P K Sathianathan and Assistant Public Prosecutor Vasant Narsapurkar, while Mr Himanshu submitted the names of noted lawyers Ujjwal Nikam and Majid Memon. The case is being heard before the court here after it was transferred from Ujjain to Nagpur on the directives of the Supreme Court.

Prof Sabharwal died after being allegedly assaulted by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the premises of Madhav College in Ujjain on August 26, 2006. The assault took place after the college authorities cancelled the elections to the students union on the grounds of insufficient quorum.

The case was being heard by a court in Ujjain, but Mr Himanshu moved the Supreme Court with a plea to a shift the case to a court outside Madhya Pradesh, saying a fair trial was not possible in that state because it was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The apex court had then ordered the case to be shifted to Nagpur.

UNI AB MAZ MSJ HT1412

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