Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti's fates hang in balance as CBI court to deliver Babri Masjid demolition verdict on Wednesday
The Special CBI court has tried those who were allegedly involved in the criminal conspiracy leading to the demolition of Babri mosque by frenzied kar sevaks in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
The special CBI court will on Wednesday deliver its verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case, 28 years after the incident.
Special CBI court judge Surendra Kumar Yadav had already issued directives to all the accused, including former Deputy PM LK Advani, BJP stalwarts Murli Manohar Joshi, form UP CM and ex-Governor of Rajasthan Kalyan Singh, former BJP lawmaker Vinay Katiyar and Uma Bharti along with 32 others.
The court tried those who were allegedly involved in the criminal conspiracy leading to the demolition of Babri mosque by frenzied kar sevaks in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
The court also completed all proceedings in the case by recording statements of all 32 accused. Lawyer KK Mishra, who is representing 25 out of the 32 accused in the case, including Advani, Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, had also confirmed the date set by the court for delivering the verdict.
The Supreme Court had given the CBI court a one-month extension, instructing it to wind up the case by September 30. The earlier deadline for judgment had expired on August 31.
Last year in July, it had extended the deadline for completion of criminal trial by six months and given nine months for delivering the final order. The deadline expired on April 19 and another extension till August 31.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the special judge to conduct day-to-day trial, concluding it in two years.
The SC had termed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charges against Advani and others as “erroneous”.
Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition, going on in Lucknow and Rae Bareli.
The first case referred to kar sevaks who were proceeded against in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relating to eight VIPs was being heard in a Rae Bareli court.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the Rae Bareli case to the Special CBI court in Lucknow.
While Advani and Joshi attended court proceeding and recorded statements through video conference, the rest of the accused appeared in Lucknow to record their statements.
Almost all the accused pleaded not guilty and termed it as a conspiracy hatched by their political rivals to frame them in a conspiracy case.
L K Advani. Was only an MP at that time. Gave a speech to kar sevaks before Babri masjid was brought down, earlier in 1990 he had led a rath yatra
Murli Manohar Joshi. Was BJP president when the mosque was demolished; he was also at the site and addressed kar sevaks
Kalyan Singh. Was UP chief minister. Had given Supreme Court an undertaking that he will not allow any damage to the mosque
Uma Bharti. Was at the site on demolition day. Liberhan Commission accused her of inciting the mob; she took moral responsibility for the demolition
Vinay Katiyar, then Bajrang Dal chief. Was BJP MP from Faizabad at the time of demolition in 1992. It is believed the conspiracy to demolish the structure was hatched at his place
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das. Head of Ayodhya’s largest temple and actively associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement since 1984
Ram Vilas Vedanti. Ex-BJP MP and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas member, he claimed to have incited the mob to raze the mosque
Sadhvi Rithambara. Founder-chairperson of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of VHP; her speeches played a major role in the demolition of the masjid
Champat Rai, current VHP vice-president and general secretary of Ram temple trust
The story so far
After a Rae Bareli court discharged former BJP chief L K Advani in the plot case in 2003 citing insufficient proof, all other co-accused were absolved by and by.
The Allahabad High Court upheld the orders in 2010. A year later, the CBI approached the SC to revive the conspiracy case. In 2017, SC gave its green light after quashing the HC order
When Babri masjid was demolished on Dec 6, 1992, two cases 197/1992 and 198/1992 were registered through two FIRs at the Ram Janamabhoomi police station, Ayodhya.
Case number 197/1992: Filed against unknown kar sevaks under IPC sections 395 (dacoity), 397(dacoity or robbery with attempt to cause death), 332 (causing hurt to deter public servants), 337, 338 (grievous hurt), 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult religion of any class), 297 (trespass in any place of worship) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion).
Case number 198/1992: Named eight accused Askok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Rithambara. They were booked under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 505 IPC (intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community).
47 more FIRs lodged on complaints of mediapersons who were assaulted and their cameras and equipment snatched; the charges were robbery, rioting and mischief etc..
Others: Sakshi Maharaj, Brij Bhushan Singh, Lallu Singh (all BJP MPs); Ravindra Nath Srivastava, then Faizabad DM; Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya, then minister in MP; Mahant Dharam Das; Satish Pradhan; Acharya Dharmendra Dev; Pawan Kumar Pandey; Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena head; Ramji Gupta; Prakash Sharma; Dharmendra Singh Gurjar; Ram Chandra Khatri, Sudhir Kakkar, Aman Nath Goyal, Santosh Dubey, Om Prakash Pandey, Vinay Kumar Rai, Kamlesh Tripathi, Gandhi Yadav, Vijay Bahadur Singh and Naveen Bhai Shukla (all kar sevaks)