Alleging that Madhumita Shukla murder case accused Amarmani Tripathi was using cell-phones and having free access to visitors in Lucknow jail, the CBI on Monday favoured transfer of the case outside Uttar Pradesh.
During hearing of the transfer petition by Madhumita's sister Nidhi Shukla, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium said the jail manual rules had been given a complete go-by and the accused, a former UP Minister, was entertaining visitors at non-scheduled hours without any entry having been made in the jail register.
"The circumstances give rise to grave and well-founded apprehension that a free and fair trial of the accused persons is not possible in Uttar Pradesh and gross mis-carriage of justice will result in the event that the trial is continues in the state", the CBI said in its affidavit.
Describing Amarmani as a "history-sheeter", the CBI said that there were as many as 34 criminal cases pending against him and he could intimidate witnesses to derail a free and fair trial.
Nidhi has sought transfer of the case outside Uttar Pradesh on the ground that a free and fair trial was not possible there as prime accused Tripathi, an MLA supporting the ruling Samajwadi Party, enjoyed political clout in the state. She also accused the state police of shielding the culprits. Nidhi's counsel Kilini Jaiswal told the court that the accused had offered her Rs one crore and that she was under constant threat.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhan asked the probe agency to examine the feasibility of transfer of the high-profile case to a Special Court in Delhi.
However, the counsel representing the state government opposed the transfer plea on the ground that 202 prosecution witnesses were to be examined in the case and it would not be feasible to transfer the case outside the state.
The apex court asked the CBI to examine the feasibility of transfer of the case and clarify whether it would be reasonable to direct the Delhi Special Court to conclude the trial expeditiously on day-to-day basis.
Madhumita, who was allegedly having illicit relations with Amarmani Tripathi, was killed in 2003 when she started exerting pressure on the former UP Minister to marry her after she became pregnant.
Earlier, he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in April 2004 but it was set aside in September 2005 by the Supreme Court which observed that he tried to threaten or coerce witnesses from the day of the murder.