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Babri Masjid Demolition Judgement on September 30

LUCKNOW, Sep 16: The judgement of the three-decade old Babri Masjid demolition case involving top BJP leaders including the former deputy prime minister L K Advani is expected to be delivered on September 30. The special CBI court has fixed the date for delivering the judgement and was confirmed by the senior lawyer K K Mishra who is representing 25 of the 32 accused in the case still alive.

Of the total 49 accused in the case, 17 have died during the interim period. Besides Advani, prominent among others facing trial in the case included  BJP stalwarts Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar,  Mahant Nitya Gopal Das, Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Ritambhara.

The date for judgment in the Ayodhya criminal conspiracy case was set on Wednesday by Surendra Kumar Yadav, judge, special CBI court, Lucknow. Earlier this month, the court completed all proceedings in the case by recording statements of all 32 accused.

The expected date of judgment is also in line with the one month extension granted by the Supreme Court  instructing the special CBI court to wind up the case by September 30. The earlier deadline for judgment had expired on August 31.

The sensitive case involving senior politicians of the BJP has dragged on for a long time despite several deadlines for its completion set by the Supreme Court.

Last year in July, the SC had extended the deadline for completion of criminal trial in Ayodhya case by six months and given a total of nine months for delivering the final order. The deadline expired on April 19 this year and another extension till August 31 was granted by the apex court.

On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the special judge to conduct a day-to-day trial concluding it in two years. It also called the demolition of the disputed structure a crime, which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution,” and allowed the CBI plea for restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VIP accused. It had also termed the Allahabad high court’s February 12, 2001, verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous”.

Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition  going on in Lucknow and Rae Bareli. The first case allegedly involving unnamed “kar sevaks” proceeded in a Lucknow court and the second set of cases relating to eight VIPs was being heard in a Rae Bareli court. In April 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the Rae Bareli case to the Special CBI court in Lucknow merging the two cases.

(Manas Dasgupta)