CBI Judge SK Yadav is currently read out the judgment, acquitting Advani, Joshi
Nearly 28 years after the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished, a special CBI court on Wednesday acquitted all 32 accused in Babri Masjid demolition case, stating that there was no conclusive proof against the accused. The 32 accused include former deputy PM LK Advani and Union Ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.
The court said that the demolition of the centuries-old mosque was not pre-planned, adding that anti-social elements destroyed the structure despite accused leaders appealing for calm. The court also observed that late VHP leader Ashok Singhal wanted to save the structure because Ram idols were inside.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure the structure was pulled down, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Rithambara and Champat Rai, the general secretary of the trust in charge of constructing the temple, are also among the accused.
CBI special court judge SK Yadav began reading out verdict in Babri mosque demolition case after nearly five years of hearing, which ended on September 1 this year.
The CBI, which went into the case, produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the court. Charges were framed against 48 people, but 16 had died during the course of the trial.
Over two dozen of 32 accused were present. Advani (92), Joshi (86), Bharti (61), Singh (88), Nritya Gopal Das and Satish Pradhan were not present in court.
Reacting to the verdict, Advani, who attended the court via video conferencing, said, "I wholeheartedly welcome the judgement by the Special Court in Babri Masjid Demolition case. The judgement vindicates my personal and BJP's belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement."
"It's a historic decision by the court. This proves that no conspiracy was hatched for December 6 incident in Ayodhya. Our program and rallies were not part of any conspiracy," Joshi, who was also a key player in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, said after the verdict.
Babri Masjid was built in 1528 by Mir Baqi, the commander of Mughal emperor Babur. The structure was demolished in December 1992 by 'kar sevaks' who claimed that the mosque was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.
The VHP along with other elements of the Sangh Parivar spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya at the site of the mosque.
Ahead of the pronouncement of verdict in the Babri mosque demolition case, a multi-layered security apparatus was put in place in the vicinity of the Old High Court building in Lucknow.
Wooden barricades were erected near most of the cross sections in the vicinity of the court building, and movement of buses from the Kaisarbagh bus stand diverted.
Vehicular movement on the roads adjoining to the court building was also minimised.
Mediapersons were not allowed to enter the court building. Most of the shops in the vicinity of the courts remained closed in view of the pronouncement of the verdict.