FORMER RAJYA Sabha member from Shiv Sena Satish Pradhan (76) on Wednesday appeared before the Special CBI court in Lucknow in the Babri Masjid demolition case hearing. He was taken into custody and later released on bail. A native of Maharashtra, he is among the six accused who were issued notices by the court on Thursday, asking them to appear on Saturday. Pradhan had then failed to appear before the court due to poor health, said defence lawyer K K Mishra. CBI’s special counsel Lalit Kumar Singh said, “after Satish Pradhan appeared before Special Judge (Ayodhya Prakaran) S K Yadav, prosecution moved an application intimating about charges he was facing in the case. The court took him into custody and later granted him bail, directing to deposit one surety of Rs 20,000 and one personal bond of the same amount.”
Singh added that Pradhan faces charges under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295 A (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
Leaving court, Pradhan told mediapersons that he had no involvement in the case.
Following the court’s notice on Thursday, five of the six accused — former BJP MPs Baikunth Lal Sharma and Ram Vilas Vedanti, VHP international general secretary Champat Rai, president of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Nyas’ invited member Mahant Dharam Das — appeared before the court Saturday. They too were granted bail after being taken in custody.
Charges against the six accused would be framed in the court on Thursday, informed CBI special counsel Lalit Kumar Singh.