Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti to face trial in Babri Masjid case


Let justice be done and the guilty punished, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, reacting to a Supreme Court order restoring a criminal conspiracy charge against BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti.

The four party leaders are accused of making inflammatory speeches that incited thousands of their followers who had camped out in Ayodhya ahead of the attack on the mosque.

The conspiracy charges on the BJP leaders and also on 13 people who are accused are dropped by the Raebareli court.

Top BJP leaders on Wednesday discussed the political and legal fallout of the Supreme Court verdict on the Babri mosque demolition.

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The demolition of the Babri mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya triggered religious riots that killed thousands, deepening divisions between Hindus and India's large Muslim minority that remain today. CBI can not prove the criminal conspiracy charges, ' his lawyer K K Venugopal had told the SC bench. The court even suggested that had the CBI done enough in 2001, the Supreme Court would not have been required to step in. But then, he will be charged once he gives up the governor post.

A bench of Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman said there can not be two trials - one at Rae Bareili against Advani and others and another at Lucknow against "karsevaks" - in connection with the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. Charges would be framed against him once he leaves office, the court said. The BJP officially still endorse the construction of a temple on the site, but successive governments have refused to build it.

"We will present evidence before the trial court, where it will be examined and cross-examined", he said.

Senior lawyer and convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), Jafarayeb Jilani said, "We are happy with the SC order and we had waited long for such directives".

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'The CBI, which is in the hands of Narendra Modi, told the Supreme Court that a criminal conspiracy case should be initiated against Advani and others, then, what should the Supreme Court do, ' asked the RJD leader.

There have been talks that BJP veterans Advani and Joshi could be considered as possible candidates for the two top constitutional posts. Accepting his plea, the apex court directed that the judge would not be transferred till proceedings were over and re strained the judge from granting adjournment to any party.

At first, there were two sets of cases relating to the Babri Masjid demolition on 6 December 1992. In October 1993, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a composite charge sheet against LK Advani and others accusing them of conspiracy.

Noting that the judges presiding over the Special CBI court were being transferred in the past, the court ordered that "There shall be no transfer of the Judge conducting the trial until the entire trial concludes".

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