Babri demolition case: CBI moves SC against Advani, others

New Delhi: The CBI has moved the Supreme Court challenging an Allahabad High Court order that dropped charges of criminal conspiracy against top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The investigating agency submitted that the trial court and the High Court had erroneously dropped conspiracy charges and proceeded against them for instigating the crowd and not indulging in actual demolition.

"It is submitted that bifurcation which has been attempted by the trial court which has found favour with the High Court is completely erroneous in law. The offence of instigation, facilitation, actual demolition of the disputed structure, continuous assault on mediapersons, all form a single transaction," the CBI said in its petition.

The High Court had on May 20 last year dismissed the CBI plea seeking revival of criminal conspiracy charges against top BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders which also included Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vinay Katiyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Sadhvi Rithambara and Mahant Avaidya Nath.

The other leaders were former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, besides Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray.

Challenging the High Court order, the CBI said, "It appears that an artificial distinction was made by the trial court attempting to assign a role in respect of each of the accused persons and to see which offences were made out. The trial court erroneously came to the conclusion that 21 persons were not entitled to be tried in the case (pertaining to demolition).

"The order passed by the High Court results in serious miscarriage of justice, violates the principle of consolidated investigation, consolidated chargesheet and also disables an effective trial," the petition said further.

"It is submitted that this distinction has been made on the ground that in respect of persons against whom only offences of instigation and other allied offences are made out. However, in respect of persons who were indulged in actual demolition, they should be tried in a separate case," the CBI said in its petition," the petition said.

"The High Court found that the accusations in respect of the demolition of the disputed structure as well as the participation of the instigative activities at the Ram Katha Kunj were different. The said conclusion is plainly erroneous and is untenable," the petition said.

In its 44-page judgement, the High Court had said there was no merit in CBI`s revision petition challenging the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them.

There are two sets of cases — one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December six, 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown `kar sevaks` who were in and around the disputed structure.

Upholding the 2001 order of the Special CBI Court, the HC had said, "Nothing is found against the correctness, legality, propriety or regularity in respect of any of the findings of the lower court."

All the 21 were charged under sections 153A IPC (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace).

The judge also said that the CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rai Bareli or in its revision petition, ever said that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders, as was being submitted now.