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CBI charge sheets Advani in Babri case
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | May 31, 2003 18:49 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday chargesheeted Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
A supplementary charge sheet was filed by the probe agency before the special court in Rae Bareli, about 85 km from Lucknow, against Advani and seven other prominent Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders.
"Advani and others were exempted from appearance following a written request by his counsel," a court official told rediff.com. "June 15 was fixed as the date for the next hearing."
The special court was assigned with the decade-old case after the Allahabad high court invalidated the setting up of a special court in Lucknow in February 2001.
Consequently, proceedings against Advani and other top BJP and VHP leaders were dropped.
Besides Advani, prominent among others who are facing the same charges included Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, former Bajrang Dal chief and UP BJP president Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Sadhvi Rithambara
Special Judicial Magistrate V K Singh, the presiding officer of the Rae Bareli court, has asked the CBI to produce news clippings, videography and photographs collected by the Criminal Investigation Department, which was entrusted with the probe immediately after the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992.
Criminal proceedings against 49 accused persons were initiated in a Faizabad court shortly after the demolition of the mosque, but later in 1993, with a view to expediting the case, the state government issued a notification to constitute a special trial court in Lucknow.
Eight years later in 2001, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court found a technical flaw in the constitution of the special trial court and held it as 'invalid'.
The high court had, however, held that the court could be revived if the state government issued a fresh notification after taking the mandatory permission of the high court.
But the earlier BJP government and the current BSP-BJP dispensation have slept over the question of notification, which granted Advani a reprieve from a case in which he was earlier charge sheeted by the CID and the CBI.
The filing of a supplementary charge sheet by the CBI before the Rae Bareli court, where the cases stood transferred, is therefore significant.
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