A special CBI court hearing the 1992 Babri Masjid cases on Thursday asked all the accused including veteran BJP leader LK Advani, Union Min Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi to appear before it on May 30.
The court is likely to frame charges on May 30 against the accused following the Supreme Court order restoring the serious criminal conspiracy offence against them. On Wednesday, the court had granted bail to Satish Pradhan, a former Shiv Sena MP, after he surrendered.
Special CBI court judge S K Yadav granted him bail on two sureties of Rs 20,000 each and a personal bond of the same amount. The other five accused had been granted bail on Saturday by the special court, which began day-to-day hearing in the politically sensitive case on May 20 after a Supreme Court direction.
Two FIRs were registered in connection with the incident. While the case of 28 accused was taken up in Lucknow CBI court, six of them died. Advani and seven other were charge sheeeted in Raebareli court. Two of them - VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Giriraj Kishore died pending trial.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 directed that former deputy prime minister Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi will face trial on conspiracy charges. It had also transferred their case from Raebareli to Lucknow.Besides the BJP three leaders, the conspiracy charge would now be invoked against Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, who were being tried at Raebareli.
The apex court had dubbed the incident as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” and allowed CBI’s plea on restoration of serious offence of criminal conspiracy against the VVIP accused.
In its 40-page judgement, it had termed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous”.
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The matter is likely to have political implications, particularly against 89-year old Advani, reported to be a front-runner for the post of the President.
The apex court had also come down heavily on the CBI for the delay of 25 years in the trial.
It said “the accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the state government.”
While a charge sheet in the Lucknow court was filed in October 1993, a supplementary charge sheet was filed in November 1996. A supplementary charge sheet was also filed in May 2003 in Rae Bareli court.
Issuing a slew of directions, the apex court had said the proceedings in the case against Advani and five others in the court of the special judicial magistrate at Raebareli will be transferred to the court of additional sessions judge (Ayodhya Matters) at Lucknow.
It had said additional charges will be framed under Section 120-B (conspiracy) and the other provisions of the penal code mentioned in the joint charge sheet filed by the CBI against the accused.