A special CBI court listening to the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition cases are likely to frame additional charges on Friday against BJP leader LK Advani and other accused after the Supreme Court ordered restoring of the critical criminal conspiracy offense against them. Earlier, the Supreme Court has adjourned a CBI plea challenging a trial court’s decision to drop the criminal conspiracy charges against several BJP and other Hindu right-wing leaders in the Babri mosque demolition case.
On Wednesday the court granted bail to former Shiv Sena MP Satish Pradhan after he abandoned here in another Babri Masjid demolition case. Special CBI court judge SK Yadav conferred him bail on two sureties of Rs 20,000 each and a personal bond of the same amount.
Pradhan arrived in the court and moved a surrender application, which was allowed, and he was sent to legal custody, special public prosecutor CBI Lalit Kumar Singh, combining he later moved a bail plea. The special court here, which started day-to-day hearing in the politically sensitive case on May 20 after a Supreme Court direction, had earlier granted bail to five VHP leaders in this case.
Further Ram Vilas Vedanti (59), those who were given relief by the CBI court on Saturday were VHP leaders Champat Rai (71), Mahant Nritya Gopal Das (79) Baikunth Lal Sharma (88), and Dharmdas Maharaj (68). Pradhan had failed to arrive on Saturday and also on Monday.
The CBI court also required framing of charges against the accused in light of the Supreme Court decision dated April 19, 2017. It has set May 25 for it, the special public prosecutor said here. The Supreme Court had on April 19 addressed that Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi will stand trial on conspiracy charges. It had transported their case from Raebareli to Lucknow. It informed the special court to start proceedings in the matter within a month and deliver its verdict within two years.
The apex court had dubbed the demolition of the medieval era monument as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” and allowed CBI’s plea for restoration of serious offense of criminal conspiracy against the VVIP arrested. In its 40-page judgment, it had headed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001, verdict dropping a conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous.”
The matter is likely to have political implications, particularly against 89-year old Advani, reported being a front-runner for the post of the President. Te apex court had also reached down heavily on the CBI for the delay of 25 years in the trial.
It stated, “the accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not seeking the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a shared trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the state government.”
While a price sheet in the Lucknow court was filed in October 1993, a supplementary charge sheet was filed in November 1996. An additional charge sheet was also tabled in May 2003 in Rae Bareli court.
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.
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It had said additional charges would 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. 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.