Days after concluding trial in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case, a special CBI court Wednesday fixed September 30 as the date of verdict in the decades-old case in which former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh and BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Sakshi Maharaj are among the 32 accused.
All the accused have been asked to be present in the court. The deadline to announce the verdict was set by the Supreme Court last month.
On September 1, after the statements of all the 32 accused were recorded under section 313 of the CrPC, the defence had submitted written arguments in the court. The prosecution had submitted its arguments a week ago. Under the said CRPC section, a judge questions the accused on the basis of the evidence put before the court, and the accused is given an opportunity to explain the allegations levelled against him.
During the trial, the court examined 354 prosecution witnesses. Of the total 49 accused booked in the case, 17 have died. The Ayodhya mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed that it was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. Following this, two cases were filed in Ayodhya: one related to the conspiracy of the demolition, and another instigation of the crowd. The remaining cases were merged with the conspiracy FIR. While the trial in the conspiracy case was being held in a Lucknow court, the hearing of the case involving alleged instigation of the ‘kar sevaks’ was being held at a Rae Bareli court.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court clubbed both the cases and set up a special court (Ayodhya Prakaran) in Lucknow to conclude the hearing.
Overturning a High Court order, the apex court restored charges against 13 accused and ordered adding criminal conspiracy charges against those facing trial in Rae Bareli. Last month, it extended the deadline for completion of the trial by a month to September 30.