Babri demolition case: Verdict tomorrow; will Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti & Kalyan Singh face jail term?

A special CBI court is all set to pronounce the judgement in the criminal conspiracy case on Wednesday, which will decide the fate of the senior BJP leaders

Babri demolition case: Verdict tomorrow; will Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti & Kalyan Singh face jail term?

NH Political Bureau

BJP veterans LK Advani and MM Joshi may be sentenced to a jail term of five years if found guilty in the 28-year-old Babri demolition case on Wednesday.

A special CBI court is set to pronounce the verdict tomorrow in the Babri masjid demolition case wherein apart from Advani and Joshi, former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, former Union minister Uma Bharti and VHP leader Vinay Katiyar were named as accused “for hatching a criminal conspiracy and inciting mob to demolish the mosque.”

The 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished on 6 December 1992 by a mob allegedly led by BJP leaders. During the almost three-decades-long trial, thirty-two accused were put on final trial.

As per the records, following the demolition of the mosque, the Uttar Pradesh police had filed two FIRs:

  1. FIR no 197/92 was registered against unknown kar sevaks (volunteers) who had climbed atop the mosque and demolished it
  2. FIR no 198/92 was filed against eight BJP leaders including Advani, Joshi, Bharti and Vinay Katiyar of the BJP, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambhara. Of these, Dalmia, Kishore and Singhal have died.

Apart from these two FIRs, 47 FIRs were filed for the attacks on journalists on the day of the demolition.

The investigating agency, CBI, had in 1993 filed the first charge sheet in the case. Four years later in 1997, a Lucknow magistrate ordered the framing of charges (including criminal conspiracy). However, after an appeal in 2001, the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the criminal charges against Advani be dropped.

After many ups and downs, the criminal conspiracy case finally gained momentum in 2017 after the Supreme Court’s intervention. On SC’s directions, the case was heard on a day-to-day basis by the CBI court in Lucknow.

Notably, the CBI has registered statements of 350 witnesses in the case.

While deposing through video conference in July, Advani denied his involvement in the demolition, alleging that the investigation was conducted under political pressure. Uma Bharati has said that she will be present in the court and will not seek “forgivness”.

Meanwhile, fearing communal clashes in sensitive areas, especially in poll-bound Bihar, the Union Home Ministry has directed all states to beef up security. Issuing an alert to the state, the MHA has said that law and order situation may worsen after the verdict as fringe elements on both sides may take advantage of the situation and give it a communal twist.

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Published: 29 Sep 2020, 1:06 PM