6 students accused of killing professor acquitted

NAGPUR - A court in Maharashtra Monday acquitted six students accused of beating a professor of their college in Madhya Pradesh to death in August 2006.

H.S. Sabharwal of Ujjain’s Madhav College was allegedly brutally assaulted by the accused on the college campus and later succumbed to his injuries. The attack was telecast live on several television channels.

The six accused, said to be activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) - the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - were let off on grounds of lack of evidence against them.

Special Public Prosecutor Praful Shandilya had made an application for investigating the case further, while the accused’s lawyer, Pushpendra Kurav said that there was no proof that the accused were present at the time of the incident, nor was there evidence to link accused with the crime.

Terming the verdict a “failure of the prosecution”, Sabharwal’s son Himanshu told media persons that he would appeal in all higher courts, all the way to the Supreme Court.

Himanshu, who has been doggedly pursuing the case since the past four years, charged the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh with being the “biggest hindrance” in the case and alleged it spared no efforts to shield the accused.

Accordingly, he had moved the Supreme Court and sought transfer of the case outside Madhya Pradesh. The apex court transferred the trial to Nagpur in Maharashtra in March 2008.

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