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CBI ‘discharges’ 10 witnesses lined up against Kalyan Singh

So far, eight witnesses have deposed against Singh in the court. The agency is lining up four key witnesses for their deposition in court this month. These include the assistant and chief investigating officers of the case. These officers will have to testify the veracity of the statements of witnesses, who had deposed against Singh over his involvement in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 09, 2019, 07.38 AM IST
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Agencies
CBI-agencies
Deposition of the CBI’s witnesses is likely to be completed by the winter break of the court.
NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation has dropped nearly ten people from its list of witnesses against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh’s in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

In the past fortnight, not a single witness in the trial, being held on a day-to-day basis, has deposed on account of their “unwillingness” to support the case of prosecution, people with direct knowledge of the matter told ET.

The agency has informed the special CBI court in Lucknow about the nearly ten witnesses who have been “discharged” from examination in the court, they said.

So far, eight witnesses have deposed against Singh in the court. The agency is lining up four key witnesses for their deposition in court this month. These include the assistant and chief investigating officers of the case.

These officers will have to testify the veracity of the statements of witnesses, who had deposed against Singh over his involvement in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The chief investigating officer of the CBI had constituted a team of investigating officers to probe the case and record testimonies of the witnesses. The assistant investigating officers, supervised by the chief investigating officer, had recorded the statements.

Deposition of the CBI’s witnesses is likely to be completed by the winter break of the court.

Sources in the agency said the discharge of the ten witnesses would not adversely impact the case of the prosecution. “Some of these witnesses were formal witnesses. Had they deposed, they would have only seconded the existing testimonies of other witnesses,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.

Of the 348 witnesses examined so far in the Babri Masjid demolition trial, one had turned partially hostile, said the people cited before.

ET on November 11 reported that the CBI had produced half a dozen witnesses to substantiate its charges against Singh.

Among these included a junior-level officer of the local intelligence unit of Uttar Pradesh, who had submitted a report of Singh's public speech delivered on May 5, 1993 in Phool Bagh, Kanpur.

The report alleged that Singh had made inflammatory remarks welcoming the December 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid by the karsevaks in Ayodhya.

He was cross examined by the defence last week and he stood his ground, said people in the know.

On April 19, 2017, the apex court had ordered day-to-day trial of the case, to be concluded in two years.

While dubbing the demolition of the medieval era monument as a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution", the top court had allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused. It had termed the Allahabad High Court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as "erroneous". The Supreme Court, on July 19 this year, extended tenure of the special CBI judge, who was set to retire on September 30, till the completion of trial and delivery of verdict. The judge was also asked to deliver the verdict within nine months.

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