Babri Masjid After more than a decade since the Babri Masjid trial commenced, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has concluded submitting its evidence putting the trial in its last leg.
The court will now summon all the accused, over 30 of them, including senior BJP leaders, and record their statements under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), multiple persons with direct knowledge of the matter said. The trial started in the special CBI court at Lucknow in 2010. In a related development, the lead investigator of the Babri Masjid demolition trial and former top cop of the CBI M Narayanan has testified in the special CBI Court at Lucknow about the veracity of a report of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and statements of independent witnesses.
The said MHA report, received by CBI a year after the demolition, detailed the list of casualties, number of people injured and properties damaged across the country during the riots. Narayanan,the chief investigating officer of the case, has deposed that a number of independent witnesses told the agency that after the demolition of Babri Masjid a number of Muslims deserted their houses in Faizabad and ran away.
The witnesses, Narayanan has deposed, also said that not only their houses and shops were gutted but their goats were also burnt. Other witnesses claimed that a number of individuals were burnt alive during the demolition. Witnesses have also said that a number of Muslims left Ayodhya. On the other hand, a report prepared by MHA shared with CBI on September 20, 1993, said that a total of 1969 individuals were killed and nearly 8,000 were injured across India in riots triggered on account of the Babri Masjid demolition. The MHA report further said that a total of 59 religious institutions were damaged and properties worth about? 135 crores were damaged during the riots in December 1992.
Sources quoted above added that Narayanan has stood his ground during the cross-examination by the defense counsels. ET, on February 3, reported that a prosecution witness who had given an elaborate eyewitness account of the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid had made significant changes to his testimony. Produced in January by the CBI for cross-examination, the witness denied witnessing the demolition. Deviating from his statement during the examination by the prosecution in July 2016, the witness, a resident of Faizabad, claimed that he did not see anything on December 6, 1992, as he did not step out of his house fearing threat to his life.
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In his examination in July 2016, the witness had given an exhaustive eyewitness testimony detailing the involvement of “lakhs of karsevaks” and the “slogans raised” by them seeking to demolish the Babri Masjid. He had deposed that he had seen the demolition and some the accused getting photographed. The witness was summoned by the special CBI court in Lucknow in January on the request of an accused, then a leader of the Shiv Sena, seeking to cross examine him. Refusing to substantiate his previous testimony, the witness had said that he did not step out of his house since he was “scared”.