LK Advani, Joshi, Bharti to appear in person when called in Babri demolition trial: Court

Lucknow, Jun 8 (PTI) A special court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case on Monday put BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti on notice to appear in person when asked to record their statements.

The court is recording the statements of the 32 accused under section 313 of the CrPC, an opportunity for them to respond after the Central Bureau of Investigation completed the examination of its witnesses.

The three leaders were earlier exempted from personal appearance in court till further orders.

Special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav said while granting this exemption it was clarified that they would have to appear in person 'as and when their presence was required'.

He said the three accused “are directed that they will ensure their presence in the court on the date to be fixed by the court”. No date was immediately fixed.

“The purpose of Monday's order was to alert the three that they have to appear soon before the court,” CBI counsel Lalit Singh later said.

The court has so far recorded the statements of four of the 32 accused under section 313. On Monday, Ramji Gupta’s statement was recorded.

The accused include former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, former deputy prime minister L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Rithambara, Sakshi Maharaj, Champat Rai and Ram Vilas Vedanti.

The court has been conducting day to day proceedings in order to conclude the trial by August 31, as directed by the Supreme Court.

L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti had appeared before the special court on May 26, 2017.

The three had then sought bail from the court and also moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance during the proceedings. This was allowed by court till further orders.

Under section 313 of the CrPC, the accused get the chance to make their statements after the prosecution has completed the examination of their witnesses.

The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by 'kar sevaks' who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. PTI COR SAB ASH ASH