New Delhi: Accepting a plea by CBI, the
Supreme Court today transferred the murder trial involving
Naga militant leader Hopeson Ningshen, from Manipur to New
Delhi, to prevent possible ethnic backlash or threat to the
A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices
Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan directed that the trial be
transferred from Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate,
Ukhrul, Manipur to a designated CBI Court (manned by a
judicial officer of the rank of a Sessions Judge) in New
Nignshen, who belongs to NSCN (IM), is charged with
the killing of three government officers Dr Thingnam Kishan
Singh, Sh. Y. Token Singh and Sh. A. Rajen Sharma belonging to
the rival Meities ethnic community on February 17, 2009, in
Senapati district of Manipur.
The incident had provoked ethnic tension in thestate
which transferred the case to CBI.
CBI filed an application in the apex court seeking
transfer of the case to Delhi arguing it was not safe for the
trial to be conducted in Manipur as the accused faced threat
to his life and his presence could flare up the surcharged
atmosphare owing to the widespread ethnic division.
The accused, however, objected to the transfer.
"We are indeed confronted with a complex situation
where there is a certain degree of divergence in the interests
of the respective stakeholders. CBI in its capacity as the
investigating agency has clearly conveyed the risks associated
with conducting the trial in Manipur.
"Even if one were to concede that the apprehension
about social unrest and communal tension between the Meities
and the Nagas were a little exaggerated, there can be no
quarrel that there exists a real possibility of a physical
attack on the respondent-accused as long as he is in Manipur.
"It was precisely because of this consideration that
the respondent-accused is being held in custody at a distant
location in Delhi. Furthermore, conducting the trial in
Manipur could also reasonably lead to more friction in the
state of Manipur which in turn could affect the trial
proceedings themselves," Justice Balakrishnan said in the
CBI has also given an undertaking to the apex court that
it would take care of the travel and accommodation of all the
52 witnesses for their deposition in Delhi during the trial.