Babri trial: Advani, Joshi to depose this week via video link

New Delhi

BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister LK Advani and two others will depose this week in a special CBI court for their alleged role in the Babri Masjid demolition conspiracy case. All the statements will be recorded through video links.

Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav on Monday lined up the hearing of former Shiv Sena MP Satish Pradhan (79) on Wednesday, followed by that of former union minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi (86) on Thursday and that of Advani on Friday.

The mosque at Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992. Advani and Dr Joshi, who have now gone into political oblivion, were then leading the Ram temple movement, claiming that the mosque was built on an ancient Ram temple that stood there.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife PM Modi may invite Advani to accompany him to Ayodhya on August 5 for the "Bhumi Pujan" to launch the construction of a giant Ram Mandir at the site following the Supreme Court verdict in favour of the Hindus. The CBI court is recording the statements of 32 accused to enable them to plead innocence if they wish so. It is conducting day-to-day hearings to complete the trial by August 31 as directed by the SC.

On Monday, it recorded the statement of Sudhir Kakkar (82), who lives in Goa. He had earlier sought to depose through a video link but appeared in person. He claimed he was falsely implicated by the then Congress govt for political reasons. Ram Chandra Khatri, one of the accused, is listed for deposition before the court on Tuesday.

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