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SC hearing in Ayodhya case on Friday

Supreme Court will hear petitions challenging the dropping of the "conspiracy" charge against Advani in Babri Mosque demolition case.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2005 02:15 IST

The Supreme Court will on Friday hear petitions challenging the dropping of the "conspiracy" charge against opposition leader LK Advani in the Babri Mosque demolition case before a Rae Bareli special court.

The apex court had in September 2003 issued notice to Advani, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and others on two writ petitions filed by advocates Wajahat Ansari and CM Shukla challenging the dropping of the conspiracy charge in the supplementary chargesheet in May 2003 after 10 years.

The petitioners have sought a direction for a joint trial against all the accused people on the basis of the original chargesheet in the court of the special sessions judge, Lucknow.

The court will also hear a review petition filed by Aslam alias Bhure seeking review of the apex court's November 2002 order permitting the trial to go on in a Rae Bareli court instead of Lucknow.

Bhure had also filed an application questioning the deletion of the conspiracy charge in the supplementary chargesheet.

Besides the CBI and Uttar Pradesh government, the petitioners have cited former human resource development minister Murli Manohar Joshi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Rithambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Uma Bharati and Vinay Katiyar as respondents.

They said dropping the conspiracy charge was a gross and shocking abuse of the due procedure of law. They said the message sent across the country was that somehow or the other, by delaying the trial, it was easy to escape culpability by manipulating the procedure and deleting uncomfortable charges like "criminal conspiracy".

In their response, Singhal, Kishore, Katiyar and Sadhvi Rithambara said they had not committed any criminal act. While seeking dismissal of the petition, they said the CBI was well within its powers to drop the conspiracy charge after thorough investigation.

They maintained that of the two first information reports (FIRs) filed in this case, crime no. 197 of 1992 was being tried in the Lucknow court and crime no. 198 of 1992 was being tried in Rae Bareli court. These two trials could not be consolidated, they said.

Advani, Bharati, Joshi and the CBI have not filed their response in the case so far.

First Published: Sep 02, 2005 01:53 IST