The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani charge row on court table next week

New Delhi, Aug. 19: The Supreme Court will next week hear a petition alleging that the CBI, in collusion with the Centre, dropped the charge of criminal conspiracy against L.K. Advani in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The petition, filed by Supreme Court advocate Wajahat Ansari, urges the court to command the CBI to restore the conspiracy charge against the deputy Prime Minister and seven other accused.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice V.. Khare and Justices H.K. Sema and S.B. Sinha today listed the petition for hearing next week. August 26 is the most likely date of hearing.

An application seeking review of the apex court order allowing the eight accused to be tried at Rae Bareli, made by Mohammad Aslam, alias Bhure, who has filed a bunch of petitions in the Ayodhya case, will also be heard at the same time.

Bhure wants the eight — Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Ritambhara — to be tried in Lucknow along with the rest of the Babri accused.

“The writ petition (of Ansari) be tagged along with the application (of Bhure) filed in the review petition and be listed for hearing before an appropriate bench after one week,” the bench of the chief justice said in a brief order.

The apex court, however, turned down the appeal for a stay on the trial in Rae Bareli till charges of criminal conspiracy were included in the CBI chargesheet.

Ansari, in his petition, alleged that the “CBI, in obvious manipulation with the central government, has sought to file a fresh chargesheet in order to delete the charge of Section 120-B, IPC, which is criminal conspiracy”.

Ansari contended that the CBI had on September 10, 1993, sought permission from the designated court to conduct further investigation in case no. 198 of 1992. FIR no. 198 contained the names of Advani and the seven others.

Permission for further investigation was granted, after which the CBI on October 10, 1993, “submitted chargesheet in all the cases (which is both for FIR nos. 197 and 198, the former mentioning hundreds of kar sevaks and the latter, Advani and seven others) before the court of special magistrate at Lucknow under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153-A (offence committed in place of worship), 153-B (an act prejudicial to maintenance of harmony between different religious groups), 505 (statements conducting to public mischief) and several other provisions of the IPC”.

However, in its chargesheet filed subsequently at the Rae Bareli special court, the CBI “in obvious manipulation with the central government” dropped the charge of criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B, the petitioner said.

The petition contended that “no man should be permitted to believe that the law subserves only the powerful”.

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