SC questions dropping of charge against Advani

SC questions dropping of charge against Advani

The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the dropping of the criminal conspiracy charge against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and others in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

Questioning the CBI’s conduct, a bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said a lower court order discharging the 13 accused on technical grounds was prima facie not correct and the investigating agency could have filed a supplementary charge sheet against them. “Prima facie, we don’t think they can be discharged...there is something peculiar about this case,” the bench said.

The court sought to know from the CBI why there could not be a joint trial of the two cases registered in connection with the demolition, one each in Lucknow and Raebareli.
 
One case was against Advani and others who were on a dais in Ayodhya in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure.

The first case was registered in Raebareli, the other in Lucknow.

The CBI had moved the apex court in 2011 against the Allahabad High Court’s order of May 20, 2010 dismissing its plea for revival of criminal conspiracy charges against top BJP leaders, including the Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, who was the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

“We also think that the order of discharge should go,” Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul said, adding that the CBI was in appeal before the apex court.
The assertion by the CBI came for the first time since the NDA government assumed office in May 2014.

But senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Haji Mehboob who is one of the petitioners in the Babri title suit case, feared the investigating agency may not now press for the conspiracy charge against the BJP leaders.

Appearing for Advani, senior advocate K K Venugopal said he wanted to be heard before the apex court pronounces any order on conducting a joint trial of the two cases.

The court put the matter for consideration on March 22.

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