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SC notice to Advani, Joshi over Babri demolition 

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi on a petition challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict discharging them of criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Besides the two, union minister Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh have also been issued the notice.

The Allahabad High Court on May 20, 2010 absolved them of the charge of criminal conspiracy that led to the razing of the 16th century mosque in the Uttar Pradesh town of Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra issued the notice as senior counsel Kapil Sibal told them that a fresh application had been moved by Haji Mahboob Ahmed challenging the high court verdict.

The apex court also gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) four weeks to get the papers to support its case challenging the discharge of Advani and others.

Additional Solicitor General N.K. Kaul told the apex court that the CBI had filed an affidavit explaining the delay in filing the petition challenging the high court ruling.

Allowing four weeks time, the court said it would be hearing the matter on the question of law, delay and merits.

The CBI moved the apex court on February 18, 2011, nearly nine months after the Allahabad High Court verdict.

The CBI said in its appeal before the apex court that the high court ruling discharging Advani and others of the offence of criminal conspiracy “is inconsistent with the previous judgment rendered by the Allahabad High Court on February 12, 2001”.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had held that the trial court committed no illegality in taking “cognizance of joint consolidated chargesheet” and “all the offences were committed in the course of the same transaction to accomplish the conspiracy”.

The high court had noted that the “evidence for all the offences was almost the same”.

Besides Advani, others accused in the case include Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Hari Dalmiya, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambrara, Mahant Avaidyanath and Kalyan Singh, who was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the Babri mosque was razed.

Since then, Giriraj Kishore and Mahant Avaidyanath have passed away, and their names will be taken off.

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