Sabharwal case: Remaining witnesses to be re-examined from 25th

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Nagpur, Nov 21 (UNI) A trial court here will re-examine the remaining 21 witnesses in the sensational Prof H S Sabharwal murder case, including his son Himanshu and two other relatives, from November 25.

As per the trial programme submitted to the court of District Judge II B A Shaikh by Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Pratul Shandilya today, three witnesses each will be re-examined on November 25, 26, December 2, 3 and 4. These witnesses include the late Prof Sabharwal's relatives Rajendra Sabharwal (November 26) and Manjeet Singh Sabharwal (December 2). They also include Additional Inspector General (IG), Ujjain, A K Sharma (December 4), Additional Superintendent of Police (SP) Manoj Kumar Singh (December 2) and other policemen.

The dates for re-examining the remaining six witnesses, including Himanshu and Investigating Officer B K Vyas, will be decided, in consultation with the counsels for the defence, on November 25, when the trial resumes.

The SPP gave a specific assurance to the court that when the re-examinations resume as per the trial programme submitted by him, he would not seek an adjournment or deferment on the grounds that elections were in progress in Madhya Pradesh. Judge Shaikh approved the trial programme after counsels for the defence granted their consent to it, and directed that summons be issued to the witnesses accordingly. The court has already re-examined 15 other witnesses in the case.

Yesterday, the court had deferred the deposition of two policemen, cited by the prosecution as eyewitnesses in the case. Judge Shaikh said the deposition was being deferred ''in the interests of justice,'' and not because the electoral process was in progress in MP.

Earlier, Advocate Shandilya had moved before the court with an application from Himanshu seeking a deferment of the deposition of police constables Dhara Singh Chawda and Sukhnanand on the ground that elections were being held in the state. ''The complainant (Himanshu) apprehends that the witnesses could be under coercion because of the elections,'' Mr Shandilya had told the court. The defence had vehemently opposed the contention.

Prof Sabharwal died after being allegedly assaulted by activists of the BJP's students wing 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 Himanshu moved the Supreme Court with a plea to 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 BJP. The apex court ordered the case to be shifted to Nagpur. Accordingly, the trial resumed before Mr Shaikh here on April 17 last. All the witnesses in the case are being re-examined.

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