NEW DELHI: BJP veteran LK Advani and his party colleagues may face trial in the decades-old Babri Masjid demolition case, the Supreme Court indicated on Monday. The move, interestingly, comes ahead of the final phase of UP polls.
Making it clear that it would not accept accused being discharged on ‘technical grounds’, the apex court said it would examine the issue of reviving conspiracy charges against those including, BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, and Union Minister Uma Bharti, which were dropped earlier by the Allahabad High Court. The CBI has challenged the High Court’s order in May 2010, confirming the lower court’s decision to drop the conspiracy charges.
“There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds. Why can’t we club both the cases and have a joint trial? One trial is going on in Lucknow and the other in Raebareli,” said the bench led by Justce PC Ghose, while slating the next hearing for March 22.
The suggestion to club the cases, however, was vehemently opposed by the CBI, stating that both FIRs have named different accused and the trials in respective cases are at advanced stages.
While the first case is lodged against LK Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya when the mosque was demolished, the other is against lakhs of karsevaks who were present around the structure at that time.
The CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the IPC. The agency had also invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by special court.