Home > News > The Ayodhya Issue > Report
How the Ayodhya spearhead came clean
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
September 20, 2003 21:15 IST
Last Updated: September 20, 2003 21:36 IST
Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani is a lucky man. Despite being the spearhead of the Ayodhya movement that culminated in the demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992, he is the only person to come out clean in the 11-year-old case.
However, looking at the series of events, it is the Central Bureau of Investigation, and former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Rajnath Singh and Mayawati whom the BJP stalwart needs to thank for his reprieve.
The first relief for Advani came in February 2001, when the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, invalidated the constitution of the special trial court for the Ayodhya case in Lucknow.
Justice Jagdish Bhalla's verdict invalidated the notification of October 8, 1993, whereby the government had sought to amend its earlier notification of September 9, 1993, to add the names of Advani and seven others for trial by the special court constituted through the earlier notification.
Due process of law, which prescribes formal consultation with the high court, had been followed in issuance of the September 9 notification. But the government's lapse in not seeking this mandatory concurrence before the second notification of October 8, rendered it 'invalid'.
Justice Bhalla provided for revival of the Lucknow special court, but that needed a fresh government notification.
With Rajnath Singh sitting at the helm of Uttar Pradesh affairs, any such move against his mentor was unthinkable.
When Mayawati took charge, she lent hopes of revival of proceedings against Advani since she had accused Singh of "shielding" Advani.
However, it was not before long that she struck a chord with the deputy prime minister, who promptly reciprocated by flying down to Lucknow to address a Bahujan Samaj Party rally. What shocked all was not Advani's presence, since the Bharatiya Janata Party was a partner in the BSP- led ruling coalition, but Advani's praise for Mayawati.
Mayawati then refused to issue a fresh notification for the revival of the Lucknow special court. When a writ was filed in the Supreme Court to revive proceedings against Advani, Mayawati preempted the move by announcing the re-constitution of the Rae Bareli special court that had been rendered defunct after the trial was shifted to Lucknow.
To add to Advani's lucky stars came the CBI's decision to bifurcate the earlier combined charge-sheet in the two separate criminal cases lodged in connection with the Babri mosque demolition. Once a separate trial court was set up in Rae Bareli, the CBI chose to split the charge-sheet -- one against Advani and seven prominent BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders, and the second against the remaining accused.
The CBI also dropped section, on the high court's orders, section 120- B of the Indian Penal Code dealing with criminal conspiracy in its revised charge-sheet submitted before the Rae Bareli court.
The revised charge-sheet contained relatively milder sections under the Indian Penal Code -- sections 153-A , 153-B (propogating communal violence), 147, 149 (rioting) and 505 (spreading ill-will).
The final reprieve came on Friday afternoon, when Rae Bareli special court Judge Vinod Kumar Singh discharged Advani on the plea that charges against him were based on mere "suspicion".