Senior BJP leader LK Advani and other BJP leaders may face trial in the decades-old Babri mosque demolition case, the Supreme Court indicated today. The court’s order on March 22 will reveal whether or not Mr Advani, 89, and other leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti will be on trial for conspiracy, a charge that was dropped by lower courts.
Mr Advani and a dozen others including Vinay Katiyar and Kalyan Singh were released by a court in Raebareli of conspiracy charges in the razing of the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The main case against the activists – called Karsevaks – is pending in the Lucknow trial court.
The CBI has challenged the Allahabad High Court order in May 2010 confirming the lower court’s decision to drop conspiracy charges against the BJP veterans.
“We will not accept the discharge of Advani and others on technical grounds. We will allow you (CBI) to file a supplementary chargesheet against 13 persons by including the conspiracy charges. We will ask the trial court to conduct a joint trial,” the court told CBI.
Mr Advani’s lawyer had strongly opposed this and told the court that if conspiracy charges are added, then 183 witnesses who had deposed at the lower court in Raebareli would have to be called again.
There are two sets of cases in the Babri demolition — one against Mr Advani and the other BJP leaders who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj and the other against lakhs of unknown karsevaks who were in and around the disputed structure and are accused of pulling it down.
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s name was removed from the list of accused persons after his death.