In a major setback to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here today rejected their discharge application, framing charges against them and the other nine accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Charges of criminal conspiracy under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been framed.
However, the accused will now move the Allahabad High Court against the CBI court's order.
Earlier today, the court granted bail to all the accused by signing a personal bond of Rs. 20,000.
"They have been granted bail by signing bonds of Rs. 20,000. We have submitted discharge application. If the court rejects it, then charges will be framed," said lawyer of accused Prashant Atal.
The court had also asked BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP's Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambara to present themselves before the court in person.
While directing the accused to present themselves in person, the judge had said no application for adjournment or exemption from personal appearance shall be entertained.
The court, which is hearing two separate cases relating to the demolition, would also frame charges against Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan in the second matter.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 ordered prosecution of Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, and other accused for criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive case. It had also ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years.
The apex court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Advani, Joshi and Bharti and unknown 'kar sevaks' shall be brought together in one trial.
The apex court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there will be no 'de novo' (fresh) trial.
The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony.
To ensure a speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions - first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions' judge being satisfied of the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered. (ANI)