Babri Masjid case: CBI moves SC against L K Advani, others

New Delhi, February 18 (Agencies): The CBI has moved the Supreme Court challenging an Allahabad High Court order that dropped charges of criminal conspiracy against top BJP leaders including L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the Babri Masjid demolition case. In its appeal, the agency said that the High Court had not come to the right conclusion and the charges of criminal conspiracy should be restored against them. The High Court had on May 20 last year dismissed the CBI plea seeking revival of criminal conspiracy charges against top BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders which also included Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vinay Katiyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Sadhvi Rithambara and Mahant Avaidya Nath.
The other leaders were former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, besides Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray. In his 44-page judgement, Justice Alok Kumar Singh of the Lucknow bench of the High Court had said there was no merit in CBI’s revision petition challenging the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them. There are two sets of cases -- one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December six, 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown ‘kar sevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure. Upholding the 2001 order of the Special CBI Court, Justice Singh had said, “Nothing is found against the correctness, legality, propriety or regularity in respect of any of the findings of the lower court.”
All the 21 were charged under sections 153A IPC (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). The judge had noted that the CBI filed supplementary charge sheet in May 2003 against Advani and seven other leaders adding sections 147 IPC (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly). The trial in this case is proceeding in a Rae Bareli court. While dismissing the CBI petition, the judge had said, “There is no embellishment in the impugned order dated May 4, 2001 either on factual or legal matrix. Hence there is no occasion for this court to make any interference in the impugned order.” The judge also said that the CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rai Bareli or in its revision petition, ever said that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders, as was being submitted now.
Had there been any substance in it, the CBI would have certainly included this offence in its supplementary charge sheet before the Rai Bareli court, the court said observing that the agency had only made a “fragile” argument in this regard. The judge had agreed with the special court’s conclusion that Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, Kalyan Singh and Satish Pradhan were not physically present on the dais. If the CBI has any evidence of conspiracy against them, it can file supplementary charge sheet in Rai Bareli court, the High Court had said.