Acharya Dharmendra Dev of the VHP here on Wednesday appeared before a special CBI court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case and accused the then Congress government of framing him due to political vendetta.
The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by “kar sevaks” who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.
Dev told the court that the then Congress-led government at the Centre framed him in the case along with other accused due to political vendetta.
Dev appeared before the court to make deposition under Section 313 of the CrPC, which allows the accused argue against the evidence produced against him. The CBI court has been conducting day-to-day proceedings in order to conclude the trial by August 31, as directed by the Supreme Court.
The court also directed two other accused, Santosh Dubey and Pawan Kumar Pandey, to appear before it on July 9 and 10, respectively, else it will issue non-bailable warrants against them.
Special Judge S K Yadav so far has recorded the statement of 23 accused.
The lawyers of former deputy prime minister L K Advani, BJP leader M M Joshi, Sudhir Kakkad and Satish Pradhan stressed on Wednesday that the accused were old, hence, their statements should be recorded through video conferencing. Another accused, Ram Chandra Khatri, is presently lodged in a Sonipat jail of Haryana in connection with another case.
The special court reiterated that a reminder should be sent to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for making arrangements to record his statement through video conferencing.
With regard to accused Om Prakash Pandey, the CBI furnished a report that he was untraceable as his family said he renounced the world and became a seer and has not come home for years.
Pandey’s brother Mahendra Pandey, however, said he will try to find out his whereabouts and let the CBI know.
At this, the court directed the CBI to remain in contact with his brother and furnish further report on July 13. The court has already issued a non-bailable warrant against him.