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Babri Masjid demolition: CBI court fixes March 24 for questioning accused

LUCKNOW: A special CBI court hearing the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case in Ayodhya on Friday fixed March 24 for examining and questioning the accused.

The court has summoned accused Champat Rai, Lallu Singh and Prakash Sharma on March 24. Special Judge S K Yadav will also summon the other accused in the case.

Earlier, the CBI led its last prosecution witness — main investigating officer M Narayanan — who was also cross-examined by the lawyers of the accused.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced as many as 351 witnesses during the trial.

In a criminal trial, after the prosecution witnesses are examined and before the accused are called on for their defence, the trial court, under CrPC section 313, has to question the accused on the case in order to enable the latter to personally explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him.

The Supreme Court had, on April 19, 2017, directed the trial court to conclude the trial within two years. On July 19, 2019, it had extended the time by nine months. Accordingly, the judgment in the case is likely to be pronounced by next month.

As many as 49 FIRs were lodged after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

One of those was lodged at the Ram Janmabhoomi police station in Ayodhya by Station House Officer Priyamvada Nath Shukla, while another FIR was registered by Sub-Inspector Ganga Prasad Tiwari at the same police station.

Other FIRs were lodged on the basis of complaints from reporters and photographers at different police stations.

After concluding its investigation, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against 49 accused, of whom 17 have died pending trial.

The accused in the case included former deputy prime minister L K Advani and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders MM Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar.