New Delhi, Aug. 16 (PTI): The Supreme Court today refused to transfer the trial in the Madan Tamang murder case from Calcutta to Sikkim but ordered that the proceedings should be conducted through video conferencing from Darjeeling.
A bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao said that Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) general secretary Roshan Giri, who is an accused in the case and had moved the apex court seeking transfer of the trial to Sikkim, did not represent all the persons facing trial. Morcha leader Bimal Gurung is also named in the chargesheet.
The police have claimed that Tamang, who was the All India Gorkha League (AIGL) president, was hacked to death in Darjeeling on May 21, 2010, in daylight when he was overseeing preparations for a public meeting.
The apex court asked the lower court in Calcutta, where the case is pending, to hold the trial "mainly through video conferencing" for which the appropriate facility should be set up at Calcutta and Darjeeling.
It, however, clarified that if the trial court was of the opinion that physical presence of a particular accused and/or a witness was necessary before the Calcutta court, the judge can pass a specific order.
"We are not inclined to direct that the case be transferred out of Kolkata at the instance of the petitioner (Giri) who does not represent all the accused in the trial," the SC said.
During the course of the hearing, additional-solicitor general P.S. Narasimha, representing the CBI, and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Bengal government, told the bench that trial through video conferencing was an "acceptable option" in this case.
Giri's counsel did not object to the submissions, after which the bench said "we consider that these submissions are undoubtedly reasonable and practical. We accordingly direct the trial court to hold the trial in the case mainly through video conferencing...."