After the Supreme Court ruled that senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders including Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti will face conspiracy charges in the Babri Masjid demolition case, a special CBI court will frame charges against them in Lucknow today.
Special CBI judge S K Yadav had asked them to appear personally before the court on May 30. BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia and firebrand Hindutva preacher Sadhvi Ritambara will also be present in the court.
The Supreme Court had asked the Lucknow-based special court to conduct day-to-day hearing, frame fresh charges within a month, and wrap up the case within two years.
The court has already refused exemption from personal appearance to Advani and Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.
The BJP leaders had moved court seeking exemption from personally appearing in court for the hearing of their role in the conspiracy to raze the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
The court, which is hearing two separate cases relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, would also frame charges against Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan in the second matter.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 ordered prosecution of Advani (89), Joshi (83), 58-year-old Bharti, and other accused for criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive case. It had also ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.
The top court had called the destruction of the medieval-era monument a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” while allowing the CBI’s plea seeking restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the four BJP leaders, including Katiyar (62), and others.
However, the Supreme Court had said BJP leader Kalyan Singh, who is the Rajasthan Governor and during whose tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, is entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he holds the gubernatorial office.
It had transferred the case against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and three other accused from a Raebareli court to Lucknow for a joint trial in the demolition case.
WHAT IS THE CASE
After demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, two FIRs were registered in connection with the incident.
While the case of 28 accused was taken up in Lucknow CBI court, six of them died. Advani and seven other were charge sheeeted in Raebareli court. Two of them – VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Giriraj Kishore died pending trial.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 directed that former deputy prime minister Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi will face trial on conspiracy charges. It had also transferred their case from Raebareli to Lucknow.
Besides the BJP three leaders, the conspiracy charge would now be invoked against Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, who were being tried at Raebareli.
It directed the special court to start proceedings in the matter within a month and deliver its verdict within two years.
The apex court had dubbed the demolition of the medieval era monument as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” and allowed CBI’s plea on restoration of serious offence of criminal conspiracy against the VVIP accused.
In its 40-page verdict, it had termed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous”.
The matter is likely to have political implications, particularly against 89-year old Advani, reported to be a in the case for the post of the President.
The Supreme Court had also come down heavily on the CBI for the delay of 25 years in the trial.