New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to explain as to why there was a delay in filing the appeal against the Allahabad High Court order in the Babri Masjid demolition case which upheld dropping of conspiracy charges against Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders.
The CBI had in 2011 moved the apex court challenging the May 21, 2010 order of the Allahabad High Court judgement, which had upheld a special court's decision to drop the charges against senior BJP leader LK Advani and 19 others. The CBI had taken more than 90 days, which was the time allotted to it to file an appeal against the HC order.
The High Court had at that time, however, allowed the CBI to proceed with other charges against Advani and others in a Rae Bareli court, under which the disputed structure falls. The Supreme Court had on December 6, 2012 directed a Rae Bareli court to expeditiously hear the case against senior BJP leader LK Advani and 19 others against whom charge of criminal conspiracy was dropped by the trial court.
The bench had pulled up Additional Solicitor General AS Chandiok for not being present in the court to argue the case for CBI saying the law officer is taking the court "casually". Besides, Advani others against whom the CBI wants the charges of criminal conspiracy under Section 120B IPC restored are - Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Satish Pradhan, CR Bansal, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, VH Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, RV Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, BL Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.
The May 2010 order of the High Court had said there was no merit in the CBI's revision petition against the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them. There are two sets of cases - one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown 'karsevaks' who were in and around the disputed structure.
The CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A IPC (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace).
But it subsequently invoked charges under Section 120 B (Criminal Conspiracy) which was quashed by the Special Court whose decision was upheld by the High Court. While upholding the special court's order, the High Court had said the CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rai Bareli or in its revision petition, ever stated that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.