Time-bound trial for Advani, Joshi, Bharti

 NEW DELHI, April 19 – BJP stalwarts LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti will be prosecuted for serious offence of criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, with the Supreme Court today ordering a day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.

The apex court, which dubbed the demolition of the medieval-era monument as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of Constitution,” allowed the CBI’s plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charges against the VVIP accused, which will have its political implications, particularly against Advani, a frontrunner for the post of the President.

However, the top court said Kalyan Singh, who is presently the Governor of Rajasthan and during whose tenure as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, was entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he remained in the gubernatorial position.

“The Court of Sessions will frame charges and move against him as soon as he ceases to be the Governor,” it said.

The court came down heavily on the CBI for the delay of 25 years in the trial and said, “The accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the State Government.”

It also rejected the contention of Advani and Joshi against clubbing of their cases, being tried at the Rae Bareilly court, with those of the ‘unknown karsevaks’ going on in a court in Lucknow.

Issuing a slew of directions, a bench comprising Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman said “the proceedings viz. Crime No. 198/92 (against Advani and five others) in the court of the Special Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly will stand transferred to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Ayodhya Matters) at Lucknow.”

Besides the three leaders, the accused, against whom the conspiracy charge would be now invoked, are Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, who were also being tried at Rae Bareilly.

“The court of sessions will frame additional charges under Section 120-B (conspiracy) and the other provisions of the Penal Code mentioned in the joint charge sheet filed by the CBI against Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Dharam Das, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahamadleshwar Jagdish Muni, Ram Bilas Vadanti, Vaikunth Lal Sharma and Satish Chandra Nagar,” Justice Nariman, writing the judgement for the bench, said. – PTI

Source : http://assamtribune.com