A special CBI court in Lucknow on Wednesday acquitted all 32 accused of criminal conspiracy in the 28-year-old Babri Masjid demolition case, including senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh.
They were acquitted due to lack of evidence, the court said.
The court also said the accused had been trying to stop the mob and not incite them.
“This was not a pre-planned demolition, no criminal conspiracy involved in Babri demolition. It was just a spontaneous outpouring of emotions. It was all just due to the heat of the moment,” the court observed.
Accused LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Satish Pradhan and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das attended the proceedings via videoconference, while Sadhvi Rithambhara, Vinay Katiyar, Champat Rai and Pawan Pandey and 22 others were present in court.
Joshi reacted to the verdict saying he welcomed the judgement.
\Minutes after the verdict, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad arrived at Advani’s residence in Delhi.
Three of the accused are sitting BJP MPs Lallu Singh of Faizabad, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh of Kaiserganj, and Sakshi Maharaj of Unnao.
Champat Rai is the general secretary of the trust in charge of constructing the Ram temple.
The Supreme Court’s verdict last year termed the demolition of the mosque as an “egregious violation of the rule of law” during its verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute. The court allotted the disputed site in Ayodhya for construction of a Ram temple. An alternative five-acre site was marked in the city for building a mosque.
The accused in the Babri demolition case faced charges of conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, making assertions “prejudicial to national integration and injuring or defiling a place of worship”, indulging in “deliberate and malicious” acts intended to outrage religious feelings, uttering statements leading to public mischief, rioting and unlawful assembly.
The CBI argued that the accused conspired and instigated ‘kar sevaks’ to demolish the 16th century mosque. But the accused pleaded innocence maintaining that there is no evidence to prove their guilt and claimed they were implicated by the then Congress government at the Centre as a political vendetta.