The Supreme Court has extended the deadline for the special CBI court in Lucknow till September 30 to deliver the verdict in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case.
“Having read the report of Mr. Surendra Kumar Yadav, learned Special Judge, and considering that the proceedings are at the fag end, we grant one month’s time, i.e., till 30th September, 2020, to complete the proceedings including delivery of judgment,” the apex court has said in an order.
The top court had previously set the August 31 deadline for the CBI court to conclude the trial of the case, in which there a total of 32 accused including former deputy prime minister L K Advani, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, BJP leaders M M Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambhara.
The mosque in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992, by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed an ancient Ram temple stood at the same site. Advani and Joshi were among those leading the Ram temple movement at that time.
The special CBI court had been recording the statements of the accused under CrPC Section 313 since June 5 after it completed the examination of 354 prosecution witnesses.
Last month, Advani had deposed before the special CBI court via video conference and denied his role in the incident. Advani’s lawyer KK Mishra had said the 92-year-old leader was falsely implicated due to a political conspiracy and termed the evidence against him false.
After the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, two FIRs were lodged. FIR No. 197/92 was filed against the kar sevaks who allegedly demolished the mosque; FIR No. 198/92 named, besides Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Singh, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Rithambara, and others for “making provocative speeches” that instigated the kar sevaks. Around 47 more cases were lodged then, which were merged with the case of demolition. Bal Thackeray too was named, but his name was removed after his death.