//BJP leaders to go on trial in Babri case

BJP leaders to go on trial in Babri case


NEW DELHI: Coming months before assembly elections in UP, Rae Bareli special court on Monday paved the way for prosecution of senior BJP leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case by dismissing a petition challenging the authority of the CBI to act as prosecuting agency.

The court ruled that regular trial — examination of witnesses and submission of prosecution evidence — against BJP leaders L K Advani and M M Joshi, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia and four others will begin from January 11. The petition by the accused had challenged the authority of CBI to prosecute, arguing it was an investigating agency.

With the trial scheduled to start in early 2007, the development could have a bearing on state politics as UP goes to polls around May next year. The major change could be that Advani and Joshi would be lumped together to face the charge of demolition, after the two ended up in moderate and hardline camps following Advani's Jinnah thesis.