Conspiracy charges against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders including LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti have been revived in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The Supreme Court on Wednesday while delivering the order has also set a 2-year deadline for the trial in the 25-year-old case to end.
The SC has ordered a joint trial of the two sets of cases by transferring the trial from Rae Bareli to the Lucknow court. These two sets of cases are related to the demolition of the disputed structure on 6 December 1992. The first involved unnamed ‘karsevaks’, the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the VVIPs in a Rae Bareli court.
The matter will now be heard in Lucknow Court and a day to day hearing would continue. The apex court said that the case shall be transferred within four weeks from Rai Bareilly to Lucknow.
On April 6, Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, had vociferously opposed the proposal for holding a joint trial and transferring their case from Rae Bareli to Lucknow.
The SC on Wednesday excluded BJP leader Kalyan Singh from the charges saying that till he holds the post of Governor of Rajasthan, no case would be registered against him.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had charge-sheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the IPC.
It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court.
While upholding the special court’s order, the high court had said CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rae Bareily or in its revision petition, ever stated that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.