CHANGE JUDGE IN JAGGI-JOGI CASE, SC TELLS HC

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THE SUPREME Court on Thursday asked the chief justice of the Chhattisgarh high court to change the trial court judge hearing NCP leader Ram Avtar Jaggi’s murder case in which former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s son Amit is an accused.

A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice R V Raveendran said that the chief justice, in consultation with the district judge, will allocate the trial of the case before another judge who will conclude the trial of the case by May 2007. The court, however, made it clear that this order will not cast any aspersions on the judge who has been trying the case till now.
 
The order directing for a change of the trial judge came after taking into account the plea that such a demand was legally valid. Mr Jaggi’s son, Satish, had moved the application seeking replacement of the trial judge, Sanman Singh, on the grounds that he was the brother of Congress MLA Gulab Singh.
 
During the pendency of the petition, the court had directed the trial court not to pronounce its verdict.
 
Mr Satish had challenged the high court order declining to transfer the trial of the case. Senior advocate Arun Jaitely, appearing for Mr Satish, had submitted that there was genuine apprehension that the victim’s family will not get justice as the sessions judge conducting the trial was the brother of Congress MLA Gulab Singh, a close acquaintance of Mr Ajit Jogi.

Mr Amit Jogi has been chargesheeted by the CBI for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy and financing the murder of Avtar Jaggi, a treasurer of the state unit of NCP, who was shot dead on June 4, 2003.

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