Update: Senior BJP leader LK Advani, minister Uma Bharti and MM Joshi asked by special CBI court to appear on May 30.
Update: BJP’s top leaders told to appear before CBI court on Friday.
Lucknow: A special CBI court hearing the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition cases is likely to frame additional charges on Thursday against BJP leader LK Advani and other accused after the Supreme Court ordered restoring of the serious criminal conspiracy offence against them.
The court on Wednesday granted bail to former Shiv Sena MP Satish Pradhan after he surrendered here in another Babri Masjid demolition case. Special CBI court judge SK Yadav granted him bail on two sureties of Rs 20,000 each and a personal bond of the same amount.
The special court here, which began day-to-day hearing in the politically sensitive case on May 20 after a Supreme Court direction, had earlier granted bail to five VHP leaders in this case.
Besides Ram Vilas Vedanti (59), those who were granted relief by the CBI court on Saturday were VHP leaders Champat Rai (71), Baikunth Lal Sharma (88), Mahant Nritya Gopal Das (79) and Dharmdas Maharaj (68).
Pradhan had failed to appear on Saturday and also on Monday.
The CBI court also ordered framing of charges against the accused in light of the Supreme Court order dated April 19, 2017. It has fixed May 25 for it, the special public prosecutor said here.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 directed that Advani, Union minister Uma Bharti and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi will face trial on conspiracy charges. It had transferred their case from Raebareli to Lucknow. It directed the special court to start proceedings in the matter within a month and deliver its verdict within two years.
The apex court had dubbed the demolition of the medieval era monument as a “crime” which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” and allowed CBI’s plea on restoration of serious offence of criminal conspiracy against the VVIP accused.
In its 40-page judgement, it had termed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous”.
The matter is likely to have political implications, particularly against 89-year old Advani, reported to be a front-runner for the post of the President. The apex court had also come down heavily on the CBI for the delay of 25 years in the trial.
It said “the accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the state government.”