A fifth witness to the killing of Ujjain college teacher HS Sabharwal, who was beaten up by a mob last year, turned hostile on Wednesday.
Government Madhav College peon Naval Kishore not only denied seeing the attackers but also told District Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Sharma that Principal LN Verma and ML Nath, a professor, were responsible for the death of the teacher.
Earlier, the college librarian Govind Kushwaha, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sanwar Patel, peon Komal Singh and sports teacher Manohar Dodia had refused to recognise the attackers.
Sabharwal was attacked on Aug 26 last year during the students' union elections. The police had initially registered a complaint against some unnamed accused,
The case was then handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which rounded up six activists of the BJP's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The CID had cited 40 witnesses, including seven eyewitnesses. But the strength of the CID claims mainly rested on original statements by peon Komal Singh and sports teacher Manohar Dodia, on the basis of which the ABVP workers were arrested.
The hostile witnesses were also seen carrying the professor into the ambulance after he was attacked.
"We will be filing an application for action against the hostile witnesses," prosecution counsel Vikram Singh said.
Sabharwal's son Himanshu charged both the accused and the prosecution with trying to scuttle the legal proceedings and demanded that the trial be shifted to another state.
"All the six accused are in jail but with the witnesses turning hostile they may be released on bail," said a state police official.