A special CBI court framed charges of criminal conspiracy against BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti after they appeared before it in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Even though the leaders were granted bail the CBI court said that there was enough evidence on record against L K Advani, M M Joshi, Uma Bharti and others for framing of criminal conspiracy charge.
The court in Lucknow dismissed the BJP leaders’ argument that they had no role in razing the Babri Masjid in 1992.
Meanwhile, bail was also granted to BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia and one-time Hindutva firebrand Sadhvi Ritambara, who also presented themselves before the court on Tuesday. All six were given bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each by CBI Special judge S K Yadav.
The CBI court, which is hearing two separate cases relating to the demolition of the 16th-century mosque, had granted bail to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan earlier this month in the second matter.
During a previous hearing, Judge Yadav had categorically said that no application for adjournment or exemption would be entertained.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 ordered prosecution of Advani, Joshi and Bharti, among other accused for criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive case. It had also ordered the day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.
The top court had called the destruction of the medieval-era monument a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution”. The court also allowed CBI’s plea that sought restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against top BJP leaders.
The Supreme Court had given then UP Chief Minister and BJP leader Kalyan Singh immunity under the Constitution as long as he held the office of the Governor of Rajasthan.
The apex court had also transferred the Babri demolition case against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and three other accused from a Raebareli court to Lucknow for a joint trial.
(With inputs from PTI)