The judgment in the Babri Masjid demolition case will be delivered by a Special CBI court here on September 30, almost 28 years after the structure in Ayodhya was razed to the ground. Special Judge S.K. Yadav has directed all the 32 accused to appear in court.
Among the accused are senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and his colleagues Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi Rithambara. Mr. Singh was the Chief Minister of U.P. when Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.
The Special CBI court framed charges of criminal conspiracy against Mr. Advani and several other accused in 2017.
K.K. Mishra, one of the defence lawyers, said it was mandatory for the accused to be present in court in case they were convicted and needed to be taken into custody. “The law says they will have to be present when the judgment is pronounced,” he said when asked if senior accused like Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi, who had recorded their statement via videoconferencing, would be able to make it in person. “It needs to be discussed what arrangement the court will make for those who are unable to attend.”
“I can’t comment at this moment who will come and who will not,” Mr. Mishra said.
The CBI court was working against the month-end deadline set by the Supreme Court for the verdict. The final arguments by the defence and the prosecution were heard by September 1, and then the judge began writing the verdict. Some of the final submissions by the accused were made through videoconferencing. The CBI, which investigated the case, has produced 351 witnesses and about 600 documents as evidence before the court.
(With PTI inputs)