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Babri case: Statements of Advani, others in CBI court from June 4

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
May 28, 2020 23:42 IST
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The special Central Bureau of Investigation court hearing the Babri mosque demolition case is set to record the statements of the accused, who include Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, from June 4 onwards.

 

Special judge S K Yadav on Thursday asked the defence to start producing the 32 accused from that date.

It is not immediately clear if they have to be present in court or can appear through a video conference due to restrictions imposed to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The court will record their statements under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, giving them a chance to claim innocence.

This stage of the trial is also meant to explain to the accused the evidence gathered against them by the prosecuting agency, the CBI.

The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by 'karsevaks' who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.

The prosecution had wrapped up the examination of its witnesses by March 6 and the court asked some of the accused to appear before it on March 24 for recording their statements under section 313 of the CrPC.

But the proceedings did not take place as the court in Lucknow closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

When the proceedings resumed on May 18, the defence counsel moved an application to summon three prosecution witnesses in order to cross examine them. This was allowed.

The accused include former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, former deputy prime minister L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Rithambara, Sakshi Maharaj and Ram Vilas Vedanti.

On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the special judge to conduct a day-to-day trial, concluding it in two years.

Calling the demolition of the disputed structure a crime which shook the 'secular fabric of the Constitution', it allowed the CBI plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VIP accused.

The court had termed the Allahabad high court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as 'erroneous'.

On May 8 this year, the top court set a new deadline for the special judge, asking him to deliver the verdict by August 31.

Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition, going on in Lucknow and Rae Bareli.

The first case involving unnamed 'karsevaks' proceeded in a Lucknow court and the second set of cases relating to eight VIPs was being heard in a Rae Bareli. The cases were then clubbed.

Last year, another bench of the Supreme settled the land dispute over the site where the mosque stood.

The SC allowed the construction of a Ram temple at the site and ordered the allocation of a separate plot in Ayodhya for building a mosque.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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