The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thick file and CBI wait prolong Babri suspense

Lucknow, Sept. 3: The CBI special court in Rae Bareli trying the Babri Masjid demolition case today reserved its order on framing charges against L.K. Advani and seven others till September 12.

Special judge V.K. Singh said counsel for the CBI and the accused had filed written arguments and oral submissions and he needed time to go through them.

Singh said it was not possible to deliver a ruling today as the file was thick and the counter-affidavit of the CBI was filed in the court only on August 26.

The small courtroom was packed with lawyers and reporters who were expecting a decision.

The CBI had filed a supplementary chargesheet in a Rae Bareli court in May against the deputy Prime Minister, human resources minister Murli Manohar Joshi and BJP leaders Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar. Charges had also been framed against VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Rithambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

The CBI charged the eight with spreading communal frenzy and rioting and making provocative speeches ahead of the masjid demolition on December 6, 1992.

The court order has assumed significance in view of Monday’s Supreme Court move to issue notices to the CBI, the accused and the Uttar Pradesh government over the dilution of the case. The May chargesheet dropped the charge of criminal conspiracy against Advani and the others.

The CBI had originally accused all the leaders of criminal conspiracy under Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code in a chargesheet filed in a Lucknow special court.

Allahabad High Court quashed the leaders’ trial by the Lucknow court due to a defective state government notification two years ago. The Mayavati government refused to issue a fresh notification to rectify the mistake, thus leading to their discharge.

But the CBI resumed the trial at the Rae Bareli court this year after an order from the Supreme Court in November last year. However, the criminal conspiracy charge was dropped in the supplementary chargesheet.

BJP’s Mayavati denial

The BJP on Wednesday dropped enough hints to suggest that its estrangement with the Bahujan Samaj Party might be a temporary one and, if circumstances demanded, the party could extend its hand of friendship to Mayavati for a fourth-time alliance.

Stung by the BSP’s charge that the BJP was using the CBI to “victimise” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister in the Taj heritage corridor case, party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Delhi said: “The BJP does not believe in practising vendetta. If the BSP has made such a charge, it only reflects its present state of mind.”

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