Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

It is both strange and improper for the current CBI Director to have come out with open remarks in the press on a case which is pending before the courts.

The CBI Director, P.C. Sharma, has reportedly told the PTI that the original chargesheet before the Rae Bareli court on the case concerning the demolition of the Babri Masjid did not have the criminal conspiracy charge. Hence, he concludes, there is no question of the CBI withdrawing a charge that was never there in the first place.

No amount of clever manipulation of talking about the case before the Rae Bareli court and ignoring or forgetting the case that was there earlier before the designated court in Lucknow can submerge the facts of the matter.

On 9.9.97, Jagdish Prasad Srivastava, Additional Session Judge (Ayodhya episode), Lucknow, passed an order framing the charges including that of criminal conspiracy against 49 accused, including all the leading lights of the RSS/BJP combine.

Para 3 of the order states: "CBI filed chargesheet against (40 people including L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Thakre, Ashok Singhal etc) under section 120-B IPC (criminal conspiracy) with 153-A/ 153-B/ 295/ 295-A and 505 IPC".

The order further says: "Central government has sanctioned the prosecution of Shri Bala Saheb Thakre to Shri D.B. Rai (accused 1 to 40) under section 196 of code of criminal procedure under section 153-A/ 153-B/ 295/ 295-A/ 505 IPC read with section 120 IPC and the UP state government has granted sanction for prosecution of Sh. Shri Kalyan Singh, R.N. Srivastava and D.B. Rai."

It is, therefore, clear that not only did the CBI file the chargesheet of criminal conspiracy in the designated court but the sanction of the Central government and of the state government were obtained. It is on the basis of this chargesheet that the designated court concluded by stating: "From our description it is concluded that in the present case a criminal conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure of Ram Janam Bhoomi/Babri Masjid was hatched by the accused persons in the beginning of 1990 and was completed on 6.12.92. Shri Lal Krishan Advani and others hatched criminal conspiracies to demolish the disputed premises on different times at different places."

On this basis, the court charged the accused under the above mentioned sections, including criminal conspiracy and sent up the case for trial directing all accused to be present on 17th October, 1997. This chargesheet when challenged in the High Court on a purely technical ground of a lapse on the part of the state government was struck down. The High Court, however, stated that this is a minor administrative lapse that can be corrected and sent back to the court for trial. The BJP’s Rajnath Singh-led government, however, chose not to heed the court’s advise and refused to make the necessary correction. Subsequently, the Mayawati government, which survived with the BJP’s support, chose once again not to issue a fresh notification in this case for the trial to proceed. But instead, to please her then masters, the case was referred to a Rae Bareli court abinitio. The present Mulayam Singh Yadav government has now conveniently left the matter to the Supreme Court to decide!

Clearly, the CBI cannot now escape from its responsibility by taking refuge behind technicalities. The simple fact is that in 1993, it had filed a chargesheet of criminal conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid. Now, in 2003, the CBI has dropped these charges when the matter comes up before the Rae Bareli court.

In all fairness and for the benefit of our civil society and administration of justice, the CBI instead of issuing misleading statements needs to explain why it has rescinded from its own earlier chargesheet.