Babri Masjid case: CBI court asks UP chief secy to provide video-conferencing facility

Lucknow, May 18 (PTI) A special CBI court directed its office on Monday to write to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to make the facility of video-conferencing available in the court room in order to continue and conclude the trial proceedings in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

The case involves ex-chief minister Kalyan Singh, BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi, Vinay Katiar, Uma Bharti and VHP leader Champat Rai among others.

In his order, special judge S K Yadav mentioned that the Supreme Court had on May 8 directed the special court to continue the trial proceedings through video-conferencing as there was difficulty in procuring the physical presence of witnesses and accused persons owing to the lockdown imposed to combat coronavirus.

'For compliance of the SC direction, it is incumbent upon the chief secretary to provide video-conferencing facility in the court room, for which he was already intimated on May 14, 2020 but nothing has been done so far,' the special court said.

The Supreme Court had directed the special court to conclude the trial proceedings by August 31.

Earlier, the trial had to be completed by April 20, but it could not be done due to closure of courts in the wake of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Hence, on an application of the special court, the SC extended the time till August 31.

The special court has recorded the prosecution evidence and has to record the statements of accused persons under section 313 of the CrPC before calling the defense for its stand.

Meanwhile, the special court allowed the cross examination of three prosecution witnesses in this week only and hence, asked the CBI how it would ensure the presence of the witnesses through video-conferencing. The proceedings of the trial are going on a day-to-day basis. PTI CORR ABN IJT