NEW DELHI: A special CBI court on Wednesday exempted veteran BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi from personal appearance during the hearing of the Babri Majid demolition case in view of their age.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who is also being tried for criminal conspiracy, has also been granted exemption on the ground that her daily appearance could hinder her official work, a court official said. Daily hearings are on against Advani, Joshi and 12 others over the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
Six other accused have also filed application seeking exemption from personal appearance but the court is yet to pronounce a verdict.
On May 30, the CBI court granted them bail on personal bonds of `50,000 each but dismissed the discharge application when the defence counsel sought quashing of the criminal conspiracy charge. The court ordered framing of charges under 120 B of the Indian Penal Code against the accused as sought by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The special court is conducting daily hearings as mandated by the Supreme Court.
The Babri Masjid demolition case has once again shot into prominence after the trial of criminal conspiracy charge has been started against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murali Manhohar Joshi, Union Minister Uma Bharti, founder-president of Bajrang Dal Vinay Katiyar, and others.
All the accused were granted bail by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation Court in Lucknow. However, the court rejected the discharge petition and said charges would be framed.