SC pulls up CBI in Babri Masjid demolition case

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 15:30 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the CBI for its submission that BJP leader L.K.Advani and other party leaders present at Ayodhya on Dec 6, 1992, had committed a "national crime" in the conspiracy that led to demolition of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure.

Taking a dim view of the submission, a bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the investigating agency should not pre-judge the case till it was decided either way by the apex court or the special court.

"Please don't call it a national crime or a matter of national importance until we or the special court (trying the case) come to a definite conclusion," Justice Dattu told senior counsel P.P.Rao, who appeared for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court's response came during the hearing of a petition by the investigating agency challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict that discharged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Advani, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and 19 others in the Babri Masjid demolition conspiracy case.

The CBI again came in for drubbing for taking more than nine months in moving the apex court to challenge the Allahabad High Court verdict discharging Advani and other leaders of conspiracy charge.

The probe agency had moved the apex court Feb 18, 2011, nearly nine months after the Allahabad High Court May 20, 2010, discharged Advani, Thackeray and 19 others of the charges of criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

"If you say that this is a case of national importance... can you say that the translation of documents would take days together and the filing of case will take months," Justice Dattu observed when senior counsel Rao sought some more time.

The court read through its order sheets to show that the investigating agency took three adjournments for filing documents.

"When you filed the first affidavit, court asked you to file a better affidavit. You did it. Can we ask you to file another affidavit to improve your case?" the court observed as Rao sought some more time as he was appearing for the first time and had to peruse the records.

Adjourning the hearing for a week, the court said that investigating agency would not file any more documents except for those relied on by the special CBI court and the high court in arriving at their judgments. It directed the hearing of the matter Feb 13.

The CBI in its appeal before the apex court said that the high court verdict discharging Advani and others of the charge of criminal conspiracy "is inconsistent with the previous judgment rendered by the Allahabad High Court on Feb 12, 2001".

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High court by its Feb 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 order had noted that the "evidence for all the offences was almost the same."

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