SC: Frames ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ Charges Against Advani, Joshi, Bharti & Others

SC: Frames ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ Charges Against Advani, Joshi, Bharti & Others

A CBI court on Tuesday charged former deputy PM LK Advani, senior BJP leader MM Joshi and cabinet minister Uma Bharati for their role in conspiracy behind the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. They all, however, were allowed bail on personal bonds of Rs 50,000 each.

As the court proceeding started on Tuesday, the counsel for the 12 accused moved a bail application on behalf of Advani and others, which the court allowed. Thereafter, they moved another application, pleading their discharge from conspiracy charges, which was rejected by the CBI judge. Now, an additional section of 120 B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) has been invoked against them.

Apart from Advani, Joshi and Bharati, other accused who appeared before the CBI court included BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Ramjanmabhoomi Trust chief Nritya Gopal Das, Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan.

All of them were named in an FIR filed after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 for allegedly instigating the mob and conspiracy behind the razing of the disputed structure.

They were booked in a separate FIR while the main FIR had been lodged against the lakhs of karsewaks for demolishing the structure. The trial of saffron leaders started at a special court in Rae Bareli while the karsewaks were being tried before a Lucknow court. The CBI court however dropped the conspiracy charges against these saffron leaders in 2001 and the Allahabad high court upheld the judgment in 2010.

But the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017 revived the conspiracy charges and and shifted their case from the Rae Bareli court to Lucknow court along with other accused who had been booked for the actual demolition of Babri Masjid.

The apex court also directed the special CBI court to frame charges within a month from the date of production of the order before it. Hence, the CBI court is in a hurry to frame the charges and start trial on day-to-day basis in compliance of the SC direction to conclude trail in two years.

The court could not frame charges on earlier occasions as all the accused were not present before it. Directing the accused to appear in the court on May 30 for framing of charges, the special judge SK Yadav had cautioned the above accused that no further adjournment or exemption from personal appearance would be granted.

On Tuesday morning, when Advani and Joshi came together to the city from Delhi, there was a beeline of saffron leaders to meet them. While deputy CM Keshav Maurya and cabinet ministers SP Sahi and Ashutosh Tandon reached Amausi airport to receive them, CM Aditya Nath Yogi met them at the VVIP guest house where they had a brief stopover before proceeding towards the CBI court in Indiranagar.

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