A Special CBI court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case of December 6, 1992, acquitted all the 32 accused on Wednesday saying it was spontaneous and unplanned move.
In the verdict, special CBI judge S.K. Yadav observed that the evidence against the accused was based on newspaper reports.
The case carried on for 28 years. Those acquitted include former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, former Union Ministers M.M. Joshi, Uma Bharti, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
The verdict came less than a year after the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute, which paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the Ayodhya site.
In the 2300-page order, the court concluded that the authenticity of audio, video provided by the CBI could not be established during the trial, and the audio of the speeches, placed on record as evidence, were not clear.
The court noted that it could not be established whether one of the cassettes, marked in the seizure memo, was sealed or open.
The CBI produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the court and charges were framed against 48 people. Of these, 16 died during the course of the trial.
The court said all the evidence had been reviewed and the charge against the accused could not be proved.
The court noted that the accused wanted to save the structure as Ram Lalla statues were inside, and the leaders who were present on the dais made several attempts to persuade the karsevaks from pulling down the structure. The court noted lakhs of karsevaks arrived at Babri Masjid and the police could not control them.
The court observed the people who pulled down the Babri mosque were “anti-national elements”. In the Ayodhya verdict the apex court had called the demolition of the mosque a violation of the rule of law.