New Delhi - India's Supreme Court on Thursday moved the rape trial of a powerful regional politician to the capital, New Delhi, to allay fears he could influence the outcome, a further embarrassment for the Hindu nationalist ruling party.
Federal police opened a murder investigation this week against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a legislator from northern Uttar Pradesh state, after a truck crashed into the car of the young woman who accuses him of rape. Two of her relatives were killed in the crash on Sunday and she is fighting for her life in hospital.
He denies the rape and any involvement in the car crash.
The case has led to anger at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also controls the regional government in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. Opposition groups accused the party of protecting Sengar.
The party expelled Sengar on Thursday, a decision taken by its national leadership, led by Modi's close aide Amit Shah, BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit said in a statement late on Thursday.