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Builder murder case: Bombay HC rejects plea to transfer trial

The Bombay high court on Monday refused to transfer the ongoing trial in the sessions court against the accused in the 2013 murder of developer Sunil Kumar Lahoriya at Navi Mumbai to a different court as the current bench had completed a substantial portion of the trial and the petitioner had not shown any glaring exceptional circumstances to cause a transfer.
By KAY Dodhiya, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:06 AM IST

The Bombay high court on Monday refused to transfer the ongoing trial in the sessions court against the accused in the 2013 murder of developer Sunil Kumar Lahoriya at Navi Mumbai to a different court as the current bench had completed a substantial portion of the trial and the petitioner had not shown any glaring exceptional circumstances to cause a transfer.

The petition was filed by the deceased businessman’s son Sandeep, alleging a biased and hurried examination of witnesses and the judge not complying with the 2018 directions of HC to conduct an expeditious trial. The HC bench while directing the sessions judge to conduct day-to-day trial from March 4 also directed all court officers involved to cooperate.

A division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale while hearing the petition filed by Sandeep Lahoriya was informed by advocate Himanshu Kode the sessions judge is biased and he is in a hurry to wrap up the trial, as a result of which, procedural and substantive errors were being committed while conducting the trial, which is prejudicial to the prosecution.

Kode also submitted that specific instances have been stated in the writ petition to claim that the aforesaid judge has not been conducting the trial properly and that this has resulted in frequent skirmishes between the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) and the judge, which is detrimental to the trial. It also claimed that vital applications like the application filed under Section 173(8) of the Cr.P.C. by the SPP have been kept pending and instead, evidence is being hurriedly recorded.

Senior advocate Rajeev Chavan for Mahesh Bijlani, one of the accused however objected the contentions raised on behalf of the petitioner.

Counsels for other 13 accused concurred with the submissions of Chavan and sought dismissal of the petition.

After hearing the submissions, the court observed that barring a few accused, all others have been in jail for about seven years by now and this factor needs to be taken into account while ensuring

The trial is completed at the earliest.

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