Lucknow: Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav has delivered his verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case on Wednesday, 28 years after the 16th century structure was razed by a mob in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town.
The court delivered the much-anticipated judgment in which some of the big names of the Sangh Parivar are among the accused.
Most of the senior leaders among the 32 accused such as LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were not present in the Lucknow court when the judge started the proceedings.
On September 16, additional district and session judge Surendra Kumar Yadav had directed all the 32 surviving accused to remain present in the court on the day of the judgment. The accused include saffron veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Champat Rai Bansal, Ram Vilas Vedanti, Dharmadas, Dr Satish Pradhan and Sadhvi Rithambara. If convicted, they would face maximum imprisonment up to five years.
The 32 accused face charges under several sections of the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, rioting , promoting enmity between different groups and unlawful assembly. During the trial, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the CBI court. The court had initially framed charges against 49 accused; 17 accused have died.
With the Supreme Court setting August 31 as the deadline and later extending it by a month for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court to give its verdict, the trial court started day-to-day hearing to complete the task in time.
The central agency produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the court. Charges were framed against 48 people, but 17 – Bal Thackerey, Ashok Singhal, Mahant Avaidyanath, Giriraj Kishore, and Vijayaraje Scindia – have passed away during the course of the trial.
Meanwhile, the UP police have issued a high alert across the state in view of the verdict, in the Babri mosque demolition case, said senior police officials.