Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has ordered transfer of trial from Varanasi to here in a 23-year- old case relating to the murder of Awadhesh Rai, brother of Congress MLA Ajay Rai.
Justice Sudhir Agarwal passed the order on the transfer application of one of the accused, Rakesh Srivastava "Nyayik", who had prayed for shifting the trial to "some other district" as he had "several apprehensions" in view of the fact that Rai, one of the respondents in the petition, was an "influential person in Varanasi".
Rai, who represents Pindra Assembly seat, has been in news because of his petition before the High Court challenging the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.
Rai himself was the Congress candidate from the constituency.
In the order dated October 15, Justice Agarwal had expressed displeasure over the "snail's pace" at which trial had proceeded at the Varanasi court and "the manner in which trial court was adjourning the case (it seemed) as if it was working under the command of accused or complainant".
He also ordered that the court at Allahabad shall conclude the trial within six months or file "a progress report justifying extension of time" before expiry of the term.
Awdhesh Rai was murdered in August, 1991 after which an FIR was lodged by Ajay Rai at Chetganj police station of Varanasi in which Nyayik was named as accused along with four others including mafia don-turned-politician and Independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari.
Petitioner Nyayik claimed he was a "social worker" involved in exposing "the nexus between mafia, bureaucracy and politicians".