Lucknow: Five of the six persons accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case surrendered in a special CBI court here on Saturday and were subsequently released on bail.
Amid tight security in the ICMRT building in Indiranagar, where the court proceedings are taking place, former MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Champat Rai, Baikunth Lal Sharma, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Dharmdas Maharaj reached there to surrender.
The court had issued summons to them.
Satish Pradhan of the Shiv Sena however did not appear and is likely to surrender next week.
The accused were granted bail after signing a surety bond worth ₹20,000. The next hearing will be held on May 22.
The court was hearing a case against the accused alleged to have been involved in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.
This comes a week after the Supreme Court allowed the CBI’s appeal in the Babri Masjid demolition case and restored criminal conspiracy charges against BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, among others.
However, Mr. Singh, who was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992, enjoys constitutional immunity as the Rajasthan Governor, and can be tried only after he leaves office.
The Supreme Court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Mr. Advani, Dr. Joshi and Ms. Bharti and unknown ‘kar sevaks’ shall be brought together in one trial.
The Supreme Court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there would be no ‘de novo’ (fresh) trial.
The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony.
To ensure a speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions — first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions judge being satisfied of the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgment is delivered.
The Supreme Court also said that its order should be followed in letter and in spirit. If the parties involved feel that the top court’s order is not being followed properly, then they will be having the liberty to approach the apex court.