Babri Masjid case: SC revives criminal conspiracy against LK Advani, Uma Bharti, and other leaders
Amit Anand Choudhary | TNN | Updated: Apr 19, 2017, 05.41 PM IST
- The apex court said that court should not grant unnecessary adjournments in the trial proceeding
- Kalyan Singh has got immunity for being governor, but charges will be framed against him immediately after he demits the office
- CBI had filed a consolidated chargesheet in 1993 against 49 accused persons
NEW DELHI: In a major set back to top BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charge against them which was quashed by trial court.
A bench of justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman allowed the plea of CBI challenging trial court and Allahabad HC order dropping conspiracy charges against 21 persons, including BJP leaders.
The apex court directed the trial court to proceed expeditiously in the case and said that court should not grant unnecessary adjournments in the trial proceeding.
The apex court, however, said that conspiracy charge should not be slapped against Kalyan Singh as he has got immunity for being governor but directed that charge be framed against him immediately after he demits office of Governor.
The CBI had told the Supreme Court that top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti had conspired with other accused for demolishing Babri Masjid in 1992 and sought revival of conspiracy charges against them.
Additional solicitor general Niraj Kishan Kaul contended that eight leaders who were being tried in Rae Bareli court for offences under various section of IPC including Section 153A (promoting enmity between classes), Section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), should also face prosecution for criminal conspiracy.
The ASG had said that 13 other accused were not facing any proceedings in any court after conspiracy charges were dropped against them and pleaded the apex court to revive proceedings against them.
"All acted under a larger conspiracy and proceedings should go on against them under Section 120B also. All the accuse worked in tandem and they should be prosecuted together," Kaul told the court while seeking revival of conspiracy charges against the leaders.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, had refuted the allegation of CBI and told the bench that there was no evidence to substantiate conspiracy charges against them.
"Is it a case that he conspired with more than one lakh karsevaks. What is the conspiracy?. It had to be find out whether there was conspiracy at all. Section 120B was blindly mentioned in the case," he said.
Venugopal had said that if the conspiracy charge was revived against the leaders then they should be tried only in Rae Bareli court and there should be joint trial along with karsevaks.
The CBI had approached the apex court way back in 2011 challenging dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi. Others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, Ashok Singhal(now dead), Giriraj Kishore(now dead), Bal Thackeray (dead), Sadhvi Ritambhara, V H Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B. L. Sharma,Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.
The trial court had passed the order on May 4, 2001 dropping the charge against them. The CBI challenged the order in HC which took ten years to decide the case. The HC had on May 20, 2010 refused to interfere with lower court order and the agency then had moved the apex court.
The agency had investigated in 49 cases and a consolidated chargesheet was filed Lucknow court on September 5, 1993 against 49 accused persons for their role in conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure under Section 120B along with other offences under various Section of Indian Penal Code.
The trial court had taken cognisance of the chargesheet and said that that case of conspiracy was made out against the accused. The trial court order was challenged before Allahabad HC which held that conspiracy charges could not be slapped against Advani and other leaders in Lucknow court as they were being tried in Rae Bareli court and the state government decision to tranfer the case to Lucknow was wrong as HC was not consulted before issuing notification.