Haji Mehboob, 77, one of the original petitioners representing the Muslim community in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit, has now moved the Supreme Court pleading that with a BJP-led government in power, the CBI might not press for restoration of the conspiracy case against top leaders of the party. UTKARSH ANAND has details of cases related to the 1992 demolition which are pending in court.
How many cases are pending in the Supreme Court?
Two. One, over the dropping of conspiracy charges against L K Advani and others. Two, over a batch of appeals against the Allahabad High Court verdict in the title suit that directed that the 2.77 acres of land of the disputed site should be divided three ways among Hindus, Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara.
How many cases are on in the trial court?
One each in Lucknow and Rae Bareli in connection with the demolition. Both cases were investigated by the CBI. In Lucknow, the accused face charges of demolition; those in Rae Bareli are being tried for allegedly instigating the crowd through speeches. Conspiracy charges against Advani and some others were dropped in Lucknow on the grounds that the FIR related only to ‘kar sevaks’. However the leaders face all charges in Rae Bareli.
Who are accused in the Lucknow and Rae Bareli cases?
After the demolition, two FIRs were lodged. FIR No. 197/92 was filed against the kar sevaks who allegedly demolished the mosque; FIR No. 198/92 named Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Sadhvi Rithambara and others for “making provocative speeches” that instigated them. Bal Thackeray’s name was removed after his death.
Why have the two sets of charges been clubbed together?
The CBI says it is not possible to separate the accused in one FIR from those in the other, since the offences transposed from the first case to the second. So, all those named in the first FIR should be tried for conspiracy as well, the CBI says.
How did the case reach the Supreme Court?
In May 2010, the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench upheld a trial court verdict dropping conspiracy charges against Advani and others. The CBI appealed after nine months, and Advani and others have sought dismissal of the petition on the ground of delay. The case is stuck at the stage of maintainability; the CBI has been told to satisfy the court on the reasons for the delay.
How did the Supreme Court allow Mehboob to intervene and argue?
Mehboob has a locus in the case not only because he is one of the petitioners in the title suit in the Ayodhya land dispute case, but also because he is a witness (CBI’s tenth prosecution witness) in the case at Rae Bareli. In 2011, he had deposed before the special CBI court hearing the demolition case, and said that top BJP leaders, including Advani, had delivered provocative speeches before the mosque was razed.
Mehboob had also filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court when the conspiracy charges were dropped against the BJP leaders but the plea was dismissed. Mehboob told the court he had not felt the need to appeal this order because the CBI had already filed an appeal — but in the changed scenario, with the BJP in power, he had to do so in order to ensure that the CBI did not deliberately botch up its case.