Thursday, July 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

No speech of Advani in Babri tapes
Our Correspondent

Rae Bareli, July 30
Video and audio evidence to prove the involvement of top BJP leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani, in the events leading to the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, were today seen in-camera in the chamber of Special Judicial Magistrate Vinod Kumar Singh.

The earlier decision to display the evidence in an open court was changed and the magistrate’s anteroom chosen for the screening of three videos and playing of one audio cassette in the presence of the lawyers involved in the case and the judicial magistrate.

“None of the video cassettes contained footage of top BJP leaders instigating the kar sevaks to demolish the mosque while the audio cassette contained the voice of Sadhvi Ritambhara, urging the mob to demolish the mosque,” one of the lawyers who witnessed the screening told this reporter.

Defence counsel said it could not be ascertained that the voice was that of Ritambhara.

“There was no evidence suggesting that top BJP and VHP leaders were directly involved in instigating the mob.

The leaders were shown as being present there that day,” said Mr Mahipal Singh Ahluwalia, counsel for Mr Advani.

Sources said the cassettes were screened at 11 am and the process continued for nearly 110 minutes during which the court scribbled “vital points”. The hearing will continue tomorrow.

Though there had been no footage to prove that Mr Advani and others had made provocative speeches which led to the demolition of the mosque, the CBI claimed that it had oral evidence to suggest the involvement of top leaders in the demolition.

“We have oral evidence to substantiate charges that top leaders, including Mr Advani, Mr Joshi and Ms Uma Bharti, had provoked the kar sevaks.

The video clippings confirm their presence at the site on that day,” said CBI counsel S.S.Gandhi.

The CBI is banking on the “unlawful assembly” theory (as enshrined in Section 149, IPC) of committing offence in pursuit of a “common object”. The “assembly” means the gathering of leaders on a makeshift dais, near the Babri mosque on that day, Mr Gandhi said.

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