The Supreme Court today issued a notice to senior BJP leader LK Advani, 19 others based on a plea filed by Haji Mehboob, a petitioner in the title suit representing the Muslim community, challenging the Allahabad HC order which acquitted them of criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The apex court granted four weeks time to the Central Bureau of Investigation and others to respond to the plea in the case.
The petition claims that CBI may not make adequate efforts to get conspiracy charges restored against party leader L K Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case. According to a report in the Indian Express, Mehboob’s fears stem from the fact that Rajnath Singh, an accused in the case, was now Home Minister and his ministry had administrative control over CBI. Also, another accused, Kalyan Singh, was now Governor of Rajasthan.
His plea said that due to the change in political scenario, litigation policy of the Centre and statutory authorities had changed their stand. “There are reliable reports… CBI may not seriously press the said petition in its true intent and spirit,” it said.
The matter was mentioned before Chief Justice H L Dattu Monday for an urgent listing and he agreed to hear it with the main matter Tuesday.
Meanwhile, extensive consultations are on at the highest level in BJP regarding the approach to take in the 22-year-old conspiracy case filed following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Economic Times reported today.
A bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra heard the Central Bureau of Investigation’s appeal which was last listed before the apex court February 5 when it was directed to be listed for final hearing on “1st April, 2014 before an appropriate bench”.
Though the matter is pending before the apex court since March 3, 2011, for the first time it came up for hearing after formation of the Narendra Modi government triggering speculation whether there would be any shift in the stand of the government from the one taken by the UPA government.
The notice on the CBI plea was issued March 3, 2011 and the matter has been listed before the court 23 times. The CBI which had moved the apex court February 18, 2011, nearly nine months after the Allahabad High Court verdict May 20, 2010, has yet to persuade the court on the justification for delay in challenging the high court order.
The CBI in its appeal before the apex court has said that the verdict discharging Advani and others of the offence of criminal conspiracy “is inconsistent with the previous judgment rendered by the Allahabad High Court on February 12, 2001”.
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court by its February 12, 2001 order had held that the trial court committed no illegality in taking “cognizance of joint consolidated charge sheet and all the offences were committed in the course of the same transaction to accomplish the conspiracy”.
The high court by its said order had noted that the “evidence for all the offences was almost the same”.
With inputs from Agencies