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Mulayam shifts onus to SC
- New affidavit asks apex court to decide if criminal conspiracy charge against Advani in Babri case should stay

New Delhi, Nov. 18: Changing tack slightly, the Uttar Pradesh government today filed a supplementary affidavit in the Supreme Court condemning the demolition of the Babri Masjid as “barbaric and unpardonable”.

But it has left it to the apex court to decide if criminal conspiracy charges should be dropped against L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and other Sangh parivar leaders.

In its affidavit, the Mulayam Singh Yadav government said the court should decide if the CBI was right in filing a fresh chargesheet in the demolition case before the Rae Bareli special court after dropping the criminal conspiracy charge against Advani and seven others. A joint chargesheet, filed in a Lucknow court in September 1997, had charged all the Babri accused with criminal conspiracy.

In its first affidavit, the government defended the dropping of the conspiracy charge and wanted the petition challenging the dilution dismissed.

The affidavit went a step further, saying “it was wrong to assume that any specific community or political party was involved in the conspiracy to demolish the mosque”.

But Mulayam Singh said here today that the offending paragraph that triggered loud protests had been added “wrongly” by the lawyer who drafted the affidavit.

He added that advocate on record R.C. Verma had already been removed from the case.

Verma was not available for comment and did not answer his telephone.

In the four-page affidavit that it filed today, the government said the original chargesheet filed by the CBI in the Babri demolition case had stated there was prima facie evidence of conspiracy against the accused.

“CBI’s investigation had revealed that the masjid had been demolished due to criminal conspiracy of some organisation,” the affidavit filed by special secretary (home) Atul Kumar said.

“The act of those persons who have demolished Babri masjid on December 6, 1992 was most barbaric, shameful, condemnable and unpardonable and was an act against the national interests and integrity of the nation,” the affidavit said.

But it passed the buck to the Supreme Court, saying “whether the CBI would have the power to further investigate the matter after submission of the chargesheet and cognisance taken thereof by the special judge, Rae Bareli, is to be decided by the (Supreme) court”.

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