Lucknow, May 17 : Following the Supreme Court orders to completed the trial of Ayodhya demolition case by August 31, the special CBI court in the state capital has decided to go on a fast track and on Monday, the Defence counsel will cross-examine three witnesses of the prosecution side. The cross-examination and even recording of the statements of the accused would be through video-conferencing, as per the suggestion of the apex court.
The special CBI court of Justice S K Yadav has been hearing the case for over a decade, but was inconclusive as the accused were yet to appear before the court to record their statements. On Thursday last, the Defence counsel sought cross-examination of three witnesses produced by the prosecution, who have already recorded their statements. These include Farat Abbas, Jagat Bahadur Agarwal and Madhurina Mishra. The special court has asked the Defence counsel to submit the questions on Monday, to be asked from the three witnesses.
After the SC's strict direction, the court has sped up it's effort to record the statement of 33 accused, including former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati, and Sadhvi Rithambara, among others. Earlier the special court (Ayodhya matter) was asked by the SC to complete the trial by April 18, but due to lockdown, Justice Yadav had sought the extension of the deadline. On the plea of the special judge, the Court had extended the time-frame to complete the trial by August 31 on Friday.
The trial court, going for day-to-day hearing before the lockdown, had completed the recording of the statement of 294th witness M Narayanan in the first week of March. Mr Narayanan is the last witness on behalf of CBI in the case, which was lodged by the Ramjanambhoomi police station SHO and Ramjamanbhoomi Chowki In-charge on December 6, 1992. The court will now have to record the statement of the 33 accused under Section 313 of CrPC, if required, through video-conferencing. A total of 48 FIRs were registered in connection with the demolition, investigated by the CBCID.
The matter was later handed over to the CBI. On May 31, 2017, CBI filed a charge sheet against 49 accused. Out of these, 16 have died. The court is expected to deliver it's judgement in late 2020. (UNI)