A SPECIAL CBI court on Tuesday concluded the trial in the Babri mosque demolition case, with lawyers of some of the accused presenting oral and written arguments.
Special Judge S K Yadav will start writing the verdict from Wednesday and is expected to announce it by the end of this month — a deadline set by the Supreme Court.
In the decades-old case, former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Sakshi Maharaj are among the 32 accused.
Defence counsel Mridul Rakesh on Tuesday presented his arguments in person, while advocate IB Singh through video-conference. Advani’s lawyer Mahipal Ahluwalia attended the proceedings through video-conference, said defence lawyer K K Mishra.
After the statements of all the 32 accused were recorded under section 313 of the CrPC, the defence on Monday submitted written arguments in the court. The prosecution had submitted its arguments a week ago. Under the said CRPC section, a judge questions the accused on the basis of the evidence put before the court, and the accused is given an opportunity to explain the allegations levelled against him.
During the trial, the court examined 354 prosecution witnesses. Of the total 49 accused booked in the case, 17 have died. The Ayodhya mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed that it was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. Following this, two cases were filed in Ayodhya: one related to the conspiracy of the demolition, and another instigation of the crowd. The remaining cases were merged with the conspiracy FIR. While the trial in the conspiracy case was being held in a Lucknow court, the hearing of the case involving alleged instigation of the ‘kar sevaks’ was being held at a Rae Bareli court.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court clubbed both the cases and set up a special court (Ayodhya Prakaran) in Lucknow to conclude the hearing.
Overturning a High Court order, the apex court restored charges against 13 accused and ordered adding criminal conspiracy charges against those facing trial in Rae Bareli.
Last month, it extended the deadline for completion of the trial by a month to September 30.
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