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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Indian politician in murder trial
By Ram Dutt Tripathi
BBC News, Lucknow

Amarmani Tripathi
Mr Tripathi says allegations against him are politically motivated
A former minister in India's Uttar Pradesh state must stand trial in connection with the murder of a young woman poet, a local court has ruled.

Amarmani Tripathi, his wife and three others deny murder and criminal conspiracy charges.

The poet, Madhumita Shukla, was shot dead at her home in 2003.

Prosecutors allege DNA showed she was carrying Mr Tripathi's child and he killed her to protect his reputation. He denies having relations with her.

'Media trial'

The judge on Wednesday explained the charges to the accused. Mr Tripathi and others entered pleas of not guilty.

Mr Tripathi told journalists outside the court not to carry out a "media trial".

He said the mind of the judge might be adversely influenced against him with what he described as undue and biased publicity.

"I and the other co-accused have nothing to do with this murder case. I have been implicated in the case under a political conspiracy to malign my image," said Mr Tripathi, a member of the state's governing Samajvadi Party.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had cancelled bail for Mr and Mrs Tripathi following a petition by the country's main investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The CBI had alleged that Mr Tripathi was intimidating witnesses in the case.

It alleged that Mr Tripathi, who was a state minister at the time of the murder, was worried Ms Shukla could damage his reputation.

Although Ms Shukla's family say she was unmarried when she died, a priest in the state says he married her to a young engineering student at the end of 2002.

The prosecution will produce its evidence at the next court hearing on 5 November.

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