Lalu accuses PM of 'crafting' Advani trial

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RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday said senior BJP leader L.K. Advani's last dream to become President of India is not possible any more after the Supreme Court order that he should face trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The mosque demolition case has been languishing in India's sluggish legal system for nearly 25 years.

Some BJP leaders said the party would not like the message to go out that the "heroes" of its most resonant Hindutva movement, spearheaded by Advani in early 90s, were tried for criminal conspiracy when it was in power at the Centre as well in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2010, the Allahabad high court disagreed with the CBI about criminal conspiracy charges for the BJP leaders, after which CBI had appealed against the high court's decision in the top court.

With the clubbing of the cases, the Supreme Court has expressed agreement with the CBI that both cases - the actual demolition case and the speeches allegedly made by these leaders - are pari materia or part of the same action.

The apex court in its order had noted that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh enjoys Constitutional immunity and can be tried only after he ceases to hold the office.

And in doing so, the apex court has also set a mammoth task for the trial court, which it served a deadline of two years to finish the long-standing case.

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The court said it will be in the interest of parties that the cases, which are pending since 1992, are disposed of within a time frame while favouring shifting of the trial in the case against Advani and others from a court in Rae Bareli to Lucknow. The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the Sessions Court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date.

The second case ( case No. 198, 1992) was filed against BJP and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders for "inciting communal violence".

On record, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "The Supreme Court has spoken".

The Supreme Court said the trial, set to begin in the northern city of Lucknow within the next four weeks, should be wrapped up in two years. Advani along with others was booked by the CBI for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to demolish the mosque, leading to riots. They say a then-existing Ram temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque. Bharti denied the charges, telling reporters that there was no conspiracy and that it was her dream to see the temple built.

The Lucknow court is hearing the case against unknown "karsevaks" who were in and around the Babri Masjid when it was pulled down.

Meanwhile, the Congress Party has demanded Uma Bharti's resignation while reminding Prime Minister Modi to act in accordance with "his love for transparency and morality in politics".

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