The Uttar Pradesh government sounded a high alert across the state with a Special CBI Court in Lucknow set to announce on Monday its verdict on the demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 .
Special Judge of the CBI court, SK Yadav, will read out his judgement from 10 am in the presence of all 32 accused, mostly on virtual platform due to ailment of several politicians. However, some of them will be present in the court.
Sources disclosed that former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani and former minister Murli Manohar Joshi have been exempted from court appearance due to their age. While Uma Bharti is afflicted by COVID-19 and recuperating in Bhopal, former chief minister of UP, Kalyan Singh, is recovering from COVID-19 and is presently in Ghaziabad. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, too is not well after recovering from COVID-19.
After 28 years of oft-derailed probe and trial, the process was completed this month. The CBI Special Court in Lucknow took up daily hearing of the case since 2017, following a Supreme Court order. The trial saw 32 surviving accused appearing before the court and recording their statements under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code. All the accused pleaded innocence and claimed that they had been framed in the case.
Minutes after the Babri mosque demolition, an FIR (No. 197/92) was registered against unknown karsevaks under sections 395, 397, 332, 337, 338, 295, 297, 153A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act at a Ayodhya police station around 5:15 pm on December 6, 1992.
Ten minutes later, a second FIR (No. 198/92) was registered under sections 153A, 153B, 505 of the IPC against LK Advani, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambhara for delivering hate-and-provocative-speeches.
In a curious move, the then government recommended a CBI probe into case number 197 but case No. 198 against the accused politicians was handed over to the CB-CID wing of UP Police.
On August 27, 1993, the state government shifted all the remaining 48 cases, including case No. 198, to the CBI for probe.
The CBI later filed a consolidated charge-sheet against 40 people in all 49 cases in a Special CBI Court of Lucknow on October 5, 1993.
Two years down the line, on January 11, 1996, the agency filed a supplementary charge-sheet against nine prominent people, taking the tally of the accused to 49.
Contrary to initial FIRs, the CBI in its charge-sheet came up with the argument of having concrete and irrefutable evidence to prove that the mosque demolition was the fallout of a larger and sinister conspiracy. It also came up with new names as accused, that included senior Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders. The charge of criminal conspiracy under Section 120(b) of the IPC was added against the accused.
However, a speedy trial started from 2017 and last month, most of the prominent accused, including Advani, MM Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Champat Rai (Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust general secretary) recorded their statements.
The trial in the case was completed in the first week of September after which the court fixed September 30 for pronouncement of the verdict.
Over the years, several accused have died, including Bal Thackeray, Ashok Singhal and Giriraj Kishore.
Meanwhile, the UP Police braced itself for the D-day and all districts and Indo-Nepal border were alerted.
ADG ( Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said in Lucknow on Tuesday that all districts had been alerted in the wake of the verdict.