News Delhi, April 19, 2017: The Supreme Court has on Wednesday allowed CBI’s appeal challenging withdrawal of conspiracy charges against 13 Senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.
A bench of justice PC Ghose and justice RF Nariman ordered day-to-day hearing in the case, setting a two-year deadline for the trial to be completed. Now, the matter will be heard by a Lucknow court and it shall be transferred within four weeks from Rai Bareilly to Lucknow.
The apex court, however, excluded senior party leader Kalyan Singh, who was the UP chief minister then, is protected since he is a governor. But charges would be framed against him once he ceases to be governor, the court said.
Other leaders who will face criminal conspiracy charges are Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Satish Pradhan, Champat Rai Bansal and Late Giriraj Kishore.
There were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on 6 December 1992. The first involved unnamed ‘karsevaks’, the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the VVIPs in a Rae Bareli court.
The clubbing of two FIRs was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places. They thought that a joint trial would mean the beginning of fresh proceedings.
The conspiracy charge against 13 accused including Advani, Joshi and Bharti was dropped in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Rae Bareli. The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and pulled it down. The trial against them is being held in a Lucknow court.
The appeals were filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead) and the CBI, against the dropping of conspiracy charges, against 21 accused including the top BJP leaders. Eight of them have died. A supplementary charge sheet was filed against eight persons but not the 13 who were discharged for plotting the demolition.
Besides Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (currently the Governor of Rajasthan), Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore (both have since died).