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Babri cases to continue
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Proceedings in Babri Masjid demolition case going on in the special CBI court took a curious turn when CBI counsel Mr PK Chaube asserted before the court that the proceedings regarding framing of charges against union ministers Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and 31 others may continue even after the High Court ruling that proceedings against case No 198/92 cannot go on due to the defective notification issued by the then state government.

Replying to the two petitions moved by the accused for dropping the proceedings against them in view of the recent verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court holding that the special court at Lucknow has no jurisdiction to deal with case no 198/92, the CBI counsel asserted that since the names of all the accused including the eight named in case no 198/92 including Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati figure in the case no 197/92 also, proceedings against all of them could be continued.

Citing statements of some prosecution witnesses, Mr Chaube argued that the complicity of the accused persons has already been established during the course of the investigation of the case no 197/92 even before the investigation of the case no 198/92 was handed over to the CBI .

Mr. Chaube further asserted that if the accused of case no. 198/92 were not found involved in case no 197/92 proceedings against them could have been stopped but if their complicity has been established in case no 197/92 proceedings against them could continue.

Earlier Kunwar Mirdul Rakesh appearing on behalf of the accused argued before the court that proceedings against his clients be dropped in view of the High Court ruling regarding case no 198/92. It may be noted that the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court in its ruling has said that since the government has not obtained prior permission of the court for the formation of a special court to try case no. 198/92, the notification was defective, but the same court has permitted the same for case no. 197/92.

Kunwar Mirdul Rakesh argued before the court that according to the case no 198/92 u/s 153, 153A &505 the eight named persons, including Mr. Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, by giving inflammatory speeches had incited lakhs of people against a particular community (read: Muslims) and prompted the karsevaks into demolishing the disputed structure (read: Babri Masjid). He further said that when the aforesaid case was entrusted to the CBI it took permission for further investigation from the special court, Rai Bareilly where the case was pending but the report of further investigation was not filed before the Rai Bareilly court, instead on 4 October 1993 the CBI filed a joint charge-sheet in Lucknow court against all the 49 FIRs naming 49 accused. "A perusal of the joint charge-sheet reveals that all the accused persons were in fact found involved in crime no. 198/92 which as per High Court ruling is out of the purview of the special CBI Court, so all of them must be discharged," he pleaded.

The arguments of CBI counsel are inconclusive, the court has fixed 29 March for further hearing. On the other hand the state government is in no mood to issue a fresh notification as wished by Justice Bhalla of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court . Chief Minister Raj Nath Singh in reply to a question in this regard simply parroted the familiar line: ‘law will take its own course.’ 

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