Senior BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti, who are facing trial on conspiracy charges in connection with the Babri Masjid case, were on Wednesday exempted from personal appearance. A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court granted relaxation to the senior BJP leaders.
Last week, criminal conspiracy charges were framed against them by the special CBI court for their alleged role in instigating a mob to demolish the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya in 1992. Two separate cases are being heard by the fast-track court.
The three others against whom conspiracy charges were framed included BJP’s Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia, and religious preacher, Sadhvi Rithambara.
Advani, Uma were among the leaders who were personally present in the court for hearing.
On May 30, a Special CBI Court framed charges against BJP stalwarts L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti and 9 others in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. All 12 accused have been booked under IPC section 120 B, which means they will face criminal conspiracy case.
The apex court had on April 19 directed that Advani (89), Joshi (83), Bharti (58) and other accused in the case would be prosecuted for serious offence of criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. It had also ordered the day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.
The top court, which had dubbed the demolition of the medieval-era monument as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution”, allowed the CBI’s plea on the restoration of the criminal conspiracy charge against the BJP stalwarts.
However, the Supreme Court had said Kalyan Singh, who is the Rajasthan Governor and during whose tenure as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, is entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he holds the gubernatorial office.
It had transferred the case against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and three other accused from a Raebareli court to Lucknow for a joint trial in the demolition case.
(With inputs from PTI)