Eyebrows were raised when the CBI, once accused of being a caged parrot of the Government in power, took a tough stand in the Supreme Court in getting the criminal conspiracy case restored in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Is this aimed to silence anti-Modi faction spearheaded by L K Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi?
The Supreme Court verdict that agreed with the CBI plea for restoring criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition against senior leaders LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar and others has raised eyebrows.
Vinay Katiyar, the BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh, was first to get off the block accusing the CBI of conspiracy. Why should the CBI conspire against him unless the investigative agency has been directed by the top brass in the BJP?
So, is there indeed a shadayantra, or conspiracy at the top in the BJP?
JU(U) leader and spokesperson Pavan Varma too raised a point. He called the verdict intriguing, suggesting that with the CBI under the Home Ministry in the Centre, the investigation agency could have soft-pedalled the case to get the likes of Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati off the hook.
So, was the case used cleverly and subtly to silence the anti-Modi forces within the BJP. It is a known fact that Advani and Joshi are no admirers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In fact, Advani had staunchly opposed the BJP’s plans to name Modi as the prime ministerial candidate 2014. Joshi played second fiddle. So, has payback time come for Modi for showing his opponents their place through the Babari Masjid verdict.
Union Minister Uma Bharati, one could say, is a collateral damage, caught in the cross-fire between Advani and Modi.
So far as Vinay Katiyar is concerned, the message is to a broader fringe group in the BJP fold out to implement a hardline Hindutva agenda that would cast a shadow on Modi’s developmental agenda.
The Supreme Court verdict has also dashed the hopes of Advani to become the next President when Pranab Mukherjee steps down.
Today’s verdict will also free the charge against the CBI that the investigation agency is just a caged parrot under the government in power. But some see an inner story on how the CBI was `manipulated’ in going after Advani and others.
What is significant in today’s Babri Masjid demolition verdict is that the Supreme Court has ordered the Allahabad High Court to end the case in the next two years. Which means, the trial cannot be adjourned and will almost have to go on on a daily basis.
A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman pronounced the judgement today. The bench also ordered that the separate trials being conducted in trial courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow be clubbed and conducted in the capital city of Uttar Pradesh only.
Others who will face criminal conspiracy charges are Sadhvi Ritambara,Satish Pradhan,Champat Rai Bansal and Late Giriraj Kishore.
Kalyan Singh, as Governor of Rajasthan enjoys constitutional immunity from being tried in a court of law and the Supreme Court has said that no case can be registered against him as long as he is serving as governor.
Today’s verdict is on a CBI appeal in the Supreme Court against the May 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment dropping conspiracy charges against the senior BJP leaders. The conspiracy angle spoke of Advani and Joshi, along with Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar (BJP), Sadhvi Rithambra, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia (VHP) instigating a restive crowd of Hindus from the dais at Ramkatha Kunj prior to the razing of the 16th Century mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya on 6 December, 1992.
The spot from where the alleged inflamatory speeches were made was just 200 metres from the disputed structure.
The CBI case is that these speeches goaded the Hindu right-wing workers to raze the Babri Masjid. But Advani and others took the stand that the demolition took place in the spur of the moment and was not connected in any way to the speeches that they made.
However, what needs to be flagged here is that in the last 25 years, the CBI and Liberhans Commission were unable to collect credible evidence against the RSS-BJP-VHP leaders in order to prove charges of criminal conspiracy.
So, will Advani and others walk free after 2 years? Well, that would depend on the muscle that the CBI adds into its arguments before the Lucknow court.
And, ofcourse, much would also depend on the backroom operations in the BJP top leadership. Modi, it must be remembered, does not forget things fast or easily.