NEW DELHI: A special court is set to deliver the verdict on the conspiracy case of the Babri Masjid which was demolished in Ayodhya 28 years ago by kar-sevaks. Ahead of the judgement security has been tightened at the court premises.
Here are latest developments:
* Accused Vinay Katiyar, Dharamdas, Vedanti, Lallu Singh, Champat Rai and Pawan Pandey have reached Lucknow to attend court proceedings.
* LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh are unlikely to be present in court at the time of delivery of the verdict in Babri case. Their advocate KK Mishra also said that Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas chief, Nritya Gopal Das, too is unlikely to be present in the CBI special court
* Notably, the CBI has filed 400-page written arguments in connection with the case.
* The Supreme Court had earlier extended till August 31 the tenure of special CBI Judge SK Yadav and directed him to complete the trial and deliver the judgment in the case by that time. The apex court had later granted another month to special CBI judge SK Yadav to pronounce the judgment in the case.
Who are the accused
Following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, two FIRs were filed—FIR NO 197 which was against ‘lakhs of kar sevaks’ and FIR NO 198 which was against 49 functionaries of Sangh Parivar for conspiracy.
Of the 48 people against whom charges were framed, 17 have died during the trial.
Of the remaining, which includes BJP stalwarts LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, the last two are currently laid low with Covid-19.
All four BJP leaders — Advani, Joshi, Bharti and Singh — are in the twilight of their political careers and aren’t members of Parliament anymore. None of them holds any executive post in the party either. Another prominent accused — Champat Rai — is the general secretary of the trust tasked with the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
What are the charges
The main charge against the accused is of hatching a serious criminal conspiracy. The charge had earlier been dropped by a trial court in 2001 and the Allahabad High Court had upheld that verdict but it was restored after the SC’s order in 2017.
Among the charges against the accused is “injuring or defiling a place of worship”.
However, last year, the SC awarded the disputed site to the Hindu religious organisations for the construction of the Ram temple while directing the state to allot an alternative site to Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque, in lieu of Babri Masjid.