SC to hear plea Wednesday to shift gang-rape trial

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court said that it would hear Wednesday a petition by one of the accused in the Dec 16, 2012, gang-rape seeking the transfer of the trial outside Delhi.

Accused Mukesh sought the shifting of the case to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh or any other state, as he apprehended he would not get free and fair trial in the city.

Earlier, Monday the Supreme Court had said it would hear the petition Tuesday but could not take up the matter due to lack of time. The case came before it Tuesday just before the lunch break, so it was not able to take it up.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Vikramajit Sen directed the listing of the matter Wednesday.

The trial in the case commenced in a fast track court in Saket in south Delhi Monday.

The petition said that Mukesh did not expect a free and fair trial in Delhi as the judiciary was under tremendous pressure because of personal interest shown by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and others.

Besides the public pressure and unending public agitations over the incident, the petition drew the apex court's attention to some of the statements made by the serving and retired judges of the higher judiciary who sought changes in the law for an expeditious trial of rape accused.

The petition said the attitude of police and jail authorities was totally biased against the petitioner.

Ram Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were charged with gang-raping and brutally assaulting a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus Dec 16. The victim died in a Singapore hospital Dec 29.

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