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Build-up in Advani Babri case

May 31: The CBI today filed a supplementary chargesheet against deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, his Cabinet colleague Murli Manohar Joshi and six others in a Rae Bareli special court, accusing them of plotting and inciting the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The special court, constituted early this year to hear the demolition case, has deferred the matter till June 13, when it will take cognisance of the chargesheet.

The CBI was directed to produce in court the report of Uttar Pradesh’s Crime Branch-CID, which had initially filed a chargesheet in the demolition case. News clippings, videography and photographs collected by the CB-CID during the investigation were also asked to be submitted.

The charges of plotting and inciting were levelled against the eight accused in an FIR (number 198/92). The CBI has culled out allegations mentioned in the combined chargesheet filed in the Lucknow court hearing the Ayodhya case, verified them and drawn up a supplementary chargesheet, sources said.

Not satisfied with the first chargesheet, the special court had given the CBI till today to file the supplementary.

The supplementary chargesheet contains additional inputs to substantiate the alleged role of the accused in the demolition. CBI sources said they have recorded the statements of around 25 people, including some journalists, to strengthen their case.

The CBI has filed a supplementary report containing the statements of 39 witnesses, documents and press reports relating to the investigation conducted by it since September 10, 1993, when the case was transferred to it from the state CID.

The judge today exempted the high-profile accused from personal appearance in court till the next hearing. They were granted an exemption for two earlier hearings as well.

Apart from Advani and Joshi, others named in the supplementary chargesheet are Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Rithambara, former Cabinet minister Uma Bharti and the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh president Vinay Katiyar.

Despite the court granting Advani and the others exemption from personal appearance for the third time, CBI officials say they will have to be present in court once prosecution starts examining the accused after the charges are framed. “They cannot remain absent throughout trial proceedings, since the witnesses have to first identify the accused and then depose on their alleged role,” sources said.

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