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Apex court reserves order on petition

Senior BJP leader LK Advani and 12 others were part of a larger conspiracy to demolish the disputed Babri Masjid, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing for charges to be revived against the politicians.

India's premier probe agency told the top court that Advani and others hadn't faced conspiracy charges based on technical reasons. The CBI wants the trial to be held in a Lucknow court.

The controversial demolition was the culmination of a festering dispute between Muslims and many Hindus, who believe the Mughal emperor Babur razed a temple at the site believed to be the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.

Earlier this month, the SC had hinted that it might revive criminal conspiracy charges against BJP and other Hindu right-wing leaders in the demolition case that was dropped by a special trial court in Lucknow on technical grounds. Other than Advani, the accused include senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, and a number of Vishwa Hindu Parishad members.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a petition seeking restoration of conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The apex court will also decide whether the trial of the VVIP accused can be transferred from a court in Rae Bareli to Lucknow.

There were two sets of cases relating the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial in which is taking place in a Lucknow court in Lucknow, while the second set of cases relates to the VVIPs in a Rae Bareli court.

A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman also indicated that they may order holding a joint trial of the two sets of cases by transferring the trial from Raebareli to a Lucknow court. The bench also said since 25 years have already passed, in the interest of justice it will consider ordering a time bound trial on a day-to-day basis, to be completed preferably within two years.
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