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Babri Masjid Case: What the BJP Stalwarts Have Been Charged With

A special CBI court on Tuesday framed charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

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Updated:May 30, 2017, 3:27 PM IST
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Babri Masjid Case: What the BJP Stalwarts Have Been Charged With
The court had earlier rejected the discharge application filed by MM Joshi, LK Advani and Uma Bharti.

Lucknow: A special CBI court on Tuesday framed charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The court has charged them under IPC Section 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) to be read with Section 153 (inciting a mob with an intent to cause riots), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and disrupting communal harmony), Section 295 (defiling a place of worship with an intent to insult the religion), Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any community) and Section 505 (provocative statements causing public mischief).

Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code says:

— Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, 2[imprisonment for life] or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.
— Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.

The court had rejected the discharge application filed by the accused.

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Earlier in the day, the court granted bail to Advani, Joshi and Bharti. Bail was also granted to BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP's Vishnu Hari Dalmia and one-time Hindutva firebrand Sadhvi Ritambara, who too presented themselves before the court.

All six were given bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each by CBI special judge SK Yadav.

After Advani, Joshi and Bharti did not turn up in court on May 25 and 26, the special court had said that no further application for an adjournment or exemption from personal appearance would be entertained.

The Supreme Court had on April 19 ordered the prosecution of Advani (89), Joshi (83), Bharti (58) and the others, directing that the trial be concluded in two years. Advani this morning met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after he arrived at the VVIP guest house here before leaving for the special court.

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The Supreme Court had called the destruction of the mosque a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution" while allowing the CBI's plea seeking restoration of the criminal conspiracy charge against the four BJP leaders, including Katiyar (62), and against Ritambara (53) and Dalmia, who is in his late eighties.

However, the top court had said BJP leader and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the structure was razed, was entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he held the gubernatorial office.

It had transferred the case against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and three other accused from a Rae Bareli court to Lucknow for a joint trial in the demolition case. Hindutva leader Vedanti claimed that he was among those who had pulled down the disputed structure in Ayodhya.

"I was one of those who had pulled the dome down," Vedanti, who appeared before the special court in the Ayodhya case, told reporters earlier.

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