Home Judiciary CBI court acquits Advani, Joshi, Kalyan Singh & all others accused in...

CBI court acquits Advani, Joshi, Kalyan Singh & all others accused in Babri demolition case

The special court in its verdict said the event was not 'pre-planned' and that the demolition happened at the spur of the moment, acquitting all 32 accused who were on trial.

Ananya Bhardwaj and Praveen Jain
Kar sevaks demolishing the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Kar sevaks demolishing the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Lucknow: A special CBI court in Lucknow Wednesday acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Judge S.K. Yadav concluded that despite voluminous evidence and statements, the case didn’t prove that the demolition had been planned ahead, but instead happened all of a sudden.

Among the 32 accused on trial were former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh, and their fellow BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Sakshi Maharaj.

Judge Yadav noted that newspaper evidence was not acceptable in this case as the original script by reporters could not be proved given that news reports are edited.

Referring to the demolition, the judge said “arajak elements” (anti-social elements) had broken the mosque in the spur of a moment.

He further noted that though over 351 witnesses deposed in the court, their statements were found to be contradictory and incoherent.

As for the video evidence presented by the CBI, it was not reliable since the Code of Criminal Procedure was not followed.

The judgment was pronounced nearly 28 years after the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished by a mob of kar sevaks on 6 December 1992. The trial in the case had begun nearly 18 years after the incident, and even then, it proceeded at a snail’s pace, leading to the Supreme Court ordering day-to-day hearings on 19 April 2017, and guaranteeing that the judge, S.K. Yadav, would not be transferred.

Sakshi Maharaj, an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, arrives at the CBI special court ahead of the verdict, in Lucknow | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

The criminal case was different to the title suit that was at the heart of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, and was settled by the Supreme Court in favour of the Hindu parties in November 2019. The top court, however, had noted that the demolition was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”, and held that a wrong committed must be remedied, as it ordered the central government or the UP government to allot 5 acres of land within Ayodhya to the Sunni Central Waqf Board for construction of a mosque.


Also read: Unseen photos of how Babri Masjid demolition was planned and executed in 1992


The long delay

The case and the trial faced myriad delays right from the beginning, when it took months for the UP government to hand over all cases pertaining to the incident to the CBI. The first charge sheet, against 40 persons, was filed in 1993, while a supplementary charge sheet in 1996 alleged a larger conspiracy and a planned attack on the Babri Masjid.

Sadhvi Rithambara arrives at the CBI court ahead of the verdict in the Babri demolition case, in Lucknow | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

In 1997, when a Lucknow magistrate ordered the framing of charges (including criminal conspiracy) against the accused, whose numbers had now risen to 48, 34 of them moved the Allahabad High Court appealing for revision, and were granted a stay, which is where the case had remained stuck for four years. In 2001, the high court ordered the criminal conspiracy charges be dropped, and the special court in Lucknow bifurcated the case, with around half the accused to be tried in Rae Bareli.

Through more legal wrangling, the Allahabad High Court re-framed the charges of ‘inciting hate’ against Advani and others in 2005, and finally in 2011, on a CBI plea, the Supreme Court combined the two trials together in Lucknow. Review petitions caused further delays, leading to the Supreme Court stepping in in 2017 and bringing Advani and others back into the criminal conspiracy case.

There were over 30,000-40,000 witnesses to the demolition, and oral evidence is said to have played an important role in the trial.

On 6 December 1992 morning, before the demolition, veteran leader L.K. Advani at a meeting with temple movement leaders | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

A list of 1,026 witnesses were drawn up, mostly journalists and policemen, and the CBI made extra effort to track witnesses to faraway places like the UK and Myanmar. Eventually, 351 witnesses gave statements in the court. Speeches of the accused leaders, which show that the idea to demolish the mosque was conceived in 1990, were presented as evidence of conspiracy.

Documentary evidence, including news reports, as well as photographs and videos shot at the site on 6 December 1992, were also presented as evidence.


Also read: How India can prevent another Babri Masjid demolition


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

11 COMMENTS

  1. our Muslim brothers should recognize that Advani, Joshi, Kalyan Singh & all others accused in Babri demolition case are good people, Just like their prophet & his henchmen were good. Destruction of Al-Lat, Al-Uzi & Al-Manat shrine was act of Allah.

    I like Christ’s saying that Those who live by sword shall die by sword. So in case of Muslims those who live by vandalism, one of the latest being Bamiyan Buddha, will die by Vandalism. Muslims should realize their mistake and leave Islam.

    • It will be better if you stick to your religion firmly and be a good example of it instead of trying to be know-all of other religions and asking the followers of those religions to leave their religions. I follow the same principle.

  2. Video evidence is not reliable but the CBI failed present a witness who has the capability to identify all that anti social elements by their clothes.

  3. This verdict has further weakened the democracy and the constitutional spirit of the country. This also reflects the extent of rot that has taken place in the Indian judiciary today through political and religious prejudices and influences. As a consequence, the saner and awakened citizens of country will have to accept more responsibility now than anytime before in the past and will have to put in untiring efforts to bring back the country on the tracks of democracy and constitutional setup from which she has been made to derail completely by the current dispensation at the Centre.

  4. Good riddance. The case was nonsensical. The Government of UP was bound to commence criminal case in the face of huge pressure from the communalists. It was such a clear case of spontaneous outburst of huge crowd resulting in the demolition of the infamous mosque. I am glad that these elderly people can live in peace, though the CBI may file appeal. Nothing will come out of it.

  5. Great decision by the Honorable Supreme Court of Republic Of India. Today is great victory of democracy and an end of media trail against these leader. Jai Hind

  6. The verdict clearly shows a conspiracy by congrass as a SHRI RAM MANDIR would disturb it’s mission of dividing HINDUS and promoting proselytizers.

    Also corrupt journalist and under educated jhollawallas are going into a tizzy after the real anti HINDU conspiracy with their help being exposed

  7. This is new india and for sure it was well known that all will be acquitted and all these yrs. the courts’ve been playing around, wasting their own time, very funny!!! In our country the current situation is if anyone is in any protest, then he/she is convicted under UAPA while those responsible for communal violence, demolition of a place of worship, are acquitted… In a country where home minister and vice president, can get infected with covid, then anything can happen… further, we see pics. of karsevaks, can’t they be traced and put on trial for demolition?

  8. JUDGE SAIS…”ACTION WAS A SPONTENEOUS ONE’…KAR SEVAKS ( JUDGE SAYS”ANTISOCIAL ELEMENTS) LINED WITH HAMMER…SHOVEL…CUTTER…AND THAT WAS A SPONTENEOUS ONE ???? AND LEADERS OF BJP ROARED ” EK DHAKKA AUR DO BABRI MASZID TOD DO” THAT WAS A SPONTENEOUS ONE ??? FARCE…JUDICIAL FARCE !! WHO SAYS CRIME DOES NOT PAY ???

Comments are closed.

More