NEW DELHI: In a major set back to top BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charge against them which was quashed by trial court.
A bench of justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman allowed the plea of CBI challenging trial court and Allahabad HC order dropping conspiracy charges against 21 persons, including BJP leaders.
The apex court directed the trial court to proceed expeditiously in the case and said that court should not grant unnecessary adjournments in the trial proceeding.
The apex court, however, said that conspiracy charge should not be slapped against Kalyan Singh as he has got immunity for being governor but directed that charge be framed against him immediately after he demits office of Governor.
The CBI had told the Supreme Court that top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti had conspired with other accused for demolishing Babri Masjid in 1992 and sought revival of conspiracy charges against them.
Additional solicitor general Niraj Kishan Kaul contended that eight leaders who were being tried in Rae Bareli court for offences under various section of IPC including Section 153A (promoting enmity between classes), Section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), should also face prosecution for criminal conspiracy.
The ASG had said that 13 other accused were not facing any proceedings in any court after conspiracy charges were dropped against them and pleaded the apex court to revive proceedings against them.
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"All acted under a larger conspiracy and proceedings should go on against them under Section 120B also. All the accuse worked in tandem and they should be prosecuted together," Kaul told the court while seeking revival of conspiracy charges against the leaders.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, had refuted the allegation of CBI and told the bench that there was no evidence to substantiate conspiracy charges against them.
"Is it a case that he conspired with more than one lakh karsevaks. What is the conspiracy?. It had to be find out whether there was conspiracy at all. Section 120B was blindly mentioned in the case," he said.
The trial court had taken cognisance of the chargesheet and said that that case of conspiracy was made out against the accused. The trial court order was challenged before Allahabad HC which held that conspiracy charges could not be slapped against Advani and other leaders in Lucknow court as they were being tried in Rae Bareli court and the state government decision to tranfer the case to Lucknow was wrong as HC was not consulted before issuing notification.