Video cassettes or footages, allegedly pertaining to the demolition of disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri masjid structure at Ayodhya, were neither sealed nor sent to forensic laboratories by the CBI to ascertain their veracity, a Special CBI court at Lucknow said on Wednesday.
Special CBI Judge S K Yadav, who acquitted all the 32 accused in the case, including BJP veterans L K Advani and MM Joshi, analyzed the video, audio evidence and the news reports of several newspapers to examine the charge of criminal conspiracy invoked by the CBI against the high-profile accused in the 28-year-old politically-sensitive case.
In the 2,300-page verdict, the judge lent credence to the testimonies of various witnesses and said that journalists from all over the world wanted to get associated with the coverage of the December 6, 1992 incident.
It noted that every news which is there in electronic and print media is not "necessarily correct" and said that whatever "video cassettes or footages" the CBI received during the investigation of the case were neither found in a sealed state by the probe agency nor sealed by the investigators.
Several video cassettes, audio evidence and news reports were used as evidence in the case to buttress the arguments that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy on the part of several leaders to bring the structures down.
However, the court recorded the finding that none of the video cassettes or footages were sent to forensic laboratories to ascertain whether they were tampered or not. The special court also recorded that the video cassettes provided by the then director of Delhi Doordarshan were included in the records without any forensic tests.
In 1992, private news channels were not there and the video-recording of any event was prepared commercially for selling in the market, it noted. Some of the video cassettes played in the courtroom had commercials and contained incidents or events from other places also which indicated they were edited ones, it said.
This is correct to say that no object related to the incident of demolition of the structure has been recovered from any of the accused, it said, adding that the news reports compiled from various newspapers on the issue were not authenticated. During investigation, no person came and testified that he was involved in the demolition of the disputed structure and this is also correct to state that nobody said during the probe that he got excited from the speeches of leaders and took part in the demolition, the verdict noted.
In a significant judgment last year, the Supreme Court allotted the disputed site in Ayodhya for construction of a Ram temple, while calling the demolition of the mosque a violation of the rule of law. An alternative five-acre site was marked in the city for building a mosque.