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CBI court seeks video conferencing to record statements of Babri mosque demolition accused

Framed by a special CBI court in 2017, the investigation agency has charged BJP leaders Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Kalyan Singh and others of criminal conspiracy in the Babri demolition case.

SNS | New Delhi |

A Special CBI court hearing the Babri mosque demolition case on Saturday directed the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to make arrangements for video conferencing to record statements of nine accused, including former deputy prime minister LK Advani.

“The NIC should be written to ensure the video conferencing facility at the residence of the accused whose list is enclosed along with this order,” special judge SK Yadav said. The office of the court, in compliance with the order, will send a communication to the NIC that comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The list comprises the names of BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh; Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Acharya Dharmendra Dev, RN Srivastava, Jai Bhagwan Goel, Amar Nath Goel and Sudhir Kakkad. These accused have to depose under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The court prepared a list of about 1,000 questions to be asked from almost all the accused. The trial court framed the questions on the basis of evidence produced by the prosecution agency CBI regarding the complicity of the accused.

“The special court informs an accused about the particular fact and evidence which came during the trial against him and then asks him to speak as to what does he want to tell about this,” CBI counsel Lalit Singh said.

“In this way, the court asked about 1,000 questions from the 13 accused who have deposed so far and the court may follow similar proceedings with the rest of accused,” Singh added.

In the list, Advani is suggested to depose before the special court on June 30; Joshi on July 1; Kalyan Singh on July 2; RN Srivastava on June 22; Mahant Nritya Gopal Das on June 23; Jai Bhagwan Das on June 24; Amar Nath Goel on June 25; Sudhir Kakkad on June on 26; and Acharya Dharmendra Dev on June 29.

The case pertains to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, after which two FIRs were lodged. One FIR was filed against the kar sevaks who allegedly demolished the mosque; another FIR named Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Singh, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Rithambara, and others for “making provocative speeches” that instigated the kar sevaks.

Framed by a special CBI court in 2017, the investigation agency has charged BJP leaders Advani, Joshi, Bharti, Kalyan Singh and others of criminal conspiracy in the demolition case. The charges are based on the charge sheet filed by the CBI on October 8, 1993.

According to The Indian Express, the charge sheet alleges that Advani “vehemently asserted repeatedly” that the kar seva to be held at Ayodha on December 6, 1992, “would not mean only bhajan and kirtan, but would also involve construction of the Shri Ram temple.”

(With inputs from PTI)