Friday , March 22 2019

Babri mosque demolition: LK Advani, Uma Bharti may face criminal trial

LK Advani

New Delhi: Senior BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi and Uma Bharti, may face a criminal hearing in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case as the SC directed on Monday that it might come to conspiracy charges against them.

The SC was hearing a plea by the CBI in 2011 during against the dropping of conspiracy charges by lower courts on the ground level that only the demolition case — and not the conspiracy one — had been moved to the investigation agency.

Hindu crowds had demolished the 16th-century mosque in UP’s Ayodhya, appealing it was built on the birthplace of Lord Rama, causing some of India’s worst unrests, killing about 2,000 people.

The CBI under the NDA’s dispensation on Monday supported the petition and additional attorney general Neeraj Kishan Kaul pressed for a joint hearing in one court with conspiracy charges added. VHP’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Vinay Katiyar Sadhvi Rithambara are some of the other accused.

At the inception, a bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton Nariman expressed the CBI counsel, “We will not accept the release of Advani and others on technical grounds. We will allow you (CBI) toanfile a additional charge sheet against 13 persons by including the conspiracy charges. We will ask the trial court to conduct a joint hearing in a Lucknow court.” Mr Kaul stated “this is what we want.”

Final hearing on Babri on March 22

Though, even as the SC was about to pass its order, Mr LK Advani’s counsel K.K. Venugopal stated that if conspiracy charges were added, all 186 witnesses who had ousted before a Rae Bareli court would have to be examined again. He also drew the attention of the SC to a delay of 1,600 days in filing the petition by the CBI and an intervener, Haji Mahmood Ahmed. But the court said it would condone the delay, and posted the matter for a final hearing on March 22.

There are 2 sets of cases – one against Mr LK Advani and 12 others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya when the mosque was demolished, while the other case was against unknown karsevaks who were in and around the doubtful structure.

The session’s judge in 2001 dropped the conspiracy charges against Mr. LK Advani and others on the ground that the case which was transferred to the CBI related only to karsevaks. The high court in 2010 sustained the special court’s order.

The high court had stated it was open to the state government issuing a fresh notification for transfer of both FIRs to the CBI, but the then state government unsuccessful to do so. The CBI later filed a petition in the Supreme Court.

Serious charges

The CBI had charge sheeted LK Advani under sections 153A (promoting hatred between classes) among others charges.

  • Babri Masjid demolished on December 6, 1992
  • The Uttar Pradesh government registers 2 FIRs 197 and 198
  • On September 19, 1993, the Uttar Pradesh government notified transfer of the FIR 197 to the CBI
  • Executive order to transfer FIR 198 also was issued on Oct. 8, 1993
  • On May 4, 2001, conspiracy charge against Advani was dropped.
  • High Court refuses to stay order, says fresh notification be issued for FIRs
  • Mayawati government in 2001 declines to issue fresh notification
  • In 2010, High Court upholds dropping of conspiracy charge
  • In 2011, CBI moves Supreme Court against High Court order, reply sought from LK Advani
  • On March 6, 2017, Supreme Court hints at reviving conspiracy charge against LK Advani
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