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Babri case: Only 348 witnesses out of 1,026 have recorded statements
Ayodhya, Dec 5 - The Babri Masjid demolition case, lodged 27 years back, is going on at a snail's pace as among 1,026 witnesses listed in the case, only 348 witnesses have so far recorded their statements before the special CBI court in Lucknow.
The demolition case was registered as crime number 197 and 198 of 1992 at Ram Janmabhoomi police station in Ayodhya by sub-inspectors Prithvi Nath and Ganga Prasad Tiwari.
The trial in the case began in 2005 in the CBI court against 48 accused, including BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Kalyan Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, then VHP chief Ashok Singhal, Nritya Gopal Das, Sadhvi Ritambhara and Vijaya Raje Scindia. As many as 16 of the accused have died.
Talking to IANS, Senior Advocate M.M. Haq, who is assisting the prosecution (CBI) in the case, said: "The case has 1,026 witnesses out of which 348 have recorded their statements by December 5, 2019, including Haji Mahboob, IPS Anju Gupta, journalists Mark Tully, Sheetla Singh and Suman Gupta".
"All the witnesses have supported the prosecution and the judgement in the case is expected by the month of March next year as the special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who is hearing the case, retired on September 30 this year. But his tenure has been extended by the Supreme Court up to March 31 next year," said Haq.
He said: "Evidence against Kalyan Singh, who is one of the main accused, is being recorded. Earlier, he was exempt from being present in the court as he was Rajasthan Governor."
Senior IPS officer Anju Gupta refused to comment on her statements to the CBI: "The matter is sub judice. I will not say anything on it," she said.
"I was witness to the demolition of Babri Masjid. I told the court what I saw -- how the mosque was demolished, what the leaders were doing there, what the police and administrative officers were doing," journalist Suman Gupta told IANS. She was the CBI witness and has recorded her statement.
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