Lucknow, April 19: The Supreme Court today has allowed CBI's appeal challenging withdrawal of conspiracy charges against Senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and 13 other leaders in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. Also, the trial court has been directed to hold day-to-day trial without any adjournment and pronounce judgment within two years. CBI challenged in SC on May 21, 2010 the order of HC dropping conspiracy charges.
The bench of justices P C Ghose and Rohinton Nariman also transferred the pending separate trial in a Rae Bareilly Magistrate court and clubbed it with criminal proceedings in the Lucknow CBI Court. “We allow the appeal filed by CBI”, the court said ordering that additional charges against Advani , Joshi and others be framed within four weeks.
“The impugned order of the Allahabad High Court upholding the lower court order dropping the charge of conspiracy ought to be set aside”, Additional Solicitor General N K Kaul had said commencing CBI’s arguments in the plea challenging dropping of charges against BJP and RSS leaders. “In any case 120B should go on and they have to be tried somewhere”, Kaul told the bench.
The court indicated that it will order the CBI Court to conduct a time-bound trial and complete it in two years. So far 195 witnesses have been examined in the Lucknow case while a whopping 800 witnesses remain to testify.
Besides the CBI plea for restoring the charges, the court was also delivering verdict on separate petition filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad, President of Mahafiz-Masjid-Wa-Maqabir’ and Muddai BabriMasjid which claimed that with the BJP regime and a “participant” Rajnath Singh as Home Minister, CBI, the original petitioner against dropping of criminal conspiracy charges may not press for its restoration.
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 added charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the Allahabad High Court. The special court had dropped framing of charges by the Lucknow court on a technical ground that the court was not set up as per a proper notification by the government.