SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case
SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

The Supreme Court today kept its options open on examining the dropping of conspiracy charge against accused like L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri structure in Ayodhya in 1992.

The apex court also came up with the option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure.

“There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can’t we club both the cases and have a joint trial,” a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.

“We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet,” the bench said.

These observations were made orally during a brief hearing by the bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on March 22.

However, the clubbing of two FIRs was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.

They were of the view that joint trial would lead to the beginning of proceedings de novo (afresh).

Altogether, 13 persons including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were discharged of conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Raebareli.

The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and the trial was being held at a court in Lucknow.

The appeals were filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead) and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and 19 others for demolition of the disputed medieval structure on December 6, 1992.

During the hearing, the bench also said that supplementary charge sheet was filed against eight persons but not against the 13 who were discharged.

Besides BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (presently Governor of Rajasthan), Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore (both have since died).

( Source – PTI )

Criminal breach of trust, conspiracy charge not valid: Kanimozhi

Jailed DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar Saturday argued in the special court that they cannot be said to have committed a criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in the 2G scam as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the spectrum.

 

Responding to a fresh plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which sought the trial court’s nod to frame fresh charges against the 17 accused, including former communication minister A. Raja, both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar asked the court to dismiss the agency’s application and “render justice”.

 

Their lawyers V.G. Pragasam and S.J. Aristotle, submitting their reply before Special Judge O.P. Saini, said Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had nothing to do with the allocation of spectrum nor were they in any way the beneficiary of the spectrum licences so allocated.

They said even the CBI had said that the two were not part of the conspiracy relating to allocation of spectrum.

 “The offence punishable under Section 409 r/w 120 B IPC (Indian Penal Code) inasmuch as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the valuable spectrum illegally, in violation of the existing policies and eligibility criterion in order to confer wrongful gain to the corporate officials,” said Kanimozhi and Kumar in their reply application.

 

The CBI Sep 26 asked the special court for permission to frame charges for criminal breach of trust by a public servant against Raja, his former aide R.K. Chandolia, and former telecom department secretary Siddartha Behura.

 Criminal breach of trust is a non-bailable offence with punishment that stretches from 10 years to life imprisonment.

 Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said that a case of framing of charges for criminal breach of trust under section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was certainly made out against Raja, Chandolia and Behura.

 “It is submitted that accused one, two and three (Raja, Behura and Chandolia) were public servants having a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum in their respective capacities as public servants,” the CBI said in its application.

 The agency also pressed for charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against the remaining 14 co-accused in the 2G scam, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms.

 “Besides Raja and two former officials, all others, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms, should be charged under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC,” the application states.

 

However, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar in their reply said they were made co-accused by way of supplementary charge sheet for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act only for the alleged receipt of Rs.200 crore as illegal gratification, which in fact was only a genuine loan transaction through proper banking channels and which has been paid back with interest after due tax deducted at source.

“Therefore, criminal liability or offence under section 409 IPC r/w 120B IPC cannot be fastened on Knimozhi and Kumar by extension of the alleged larger conspiracy relating to allotment of spectrum licence,” said the reply.

 

The other accused include Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra and Reliance Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nayar, besides three companies – Unitech Wireless, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.

 

These people apart, agency has also named as co-accused Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Film`s Karim Morani, and the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal.