Lucknow, May 20: Five of the six persons accused in the Babri Masjid demolition surrendered in a special CBI court on Lucknow on Saturday and were subsequently released on bail.
Amid tight security in the ICMRT building in Indiranagar, where the court proceedings are taking place, former MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders Champat Rai, Baikunth Lal Sharma, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Dharmdas Maharaj reached there to surrender.
The court had issued summons to them.
Satish Pradhan of the Shiv Sena, however, did not appear and is likely to surrender next week. His counsel Manish Tripathi said he was not keeping well. Tripathi also moved a bail application on which the court will take a call late in the evening.
The Supreme Court had on April 19 directed the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Lucknow to begin proceedings in the matter within a month and wrap up hearing within two years.
The apex court had also said that the trial judge will not be transferred during this period and the court will take forward criminal charges against the 13 accused which include veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti.
Former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti had last month claimed that it he who ensured that the disputed structure was razed.
Vedanti said Advani or the senior BJP leaders had nothing to do with the demolition as it was he along with late Ashok Singhal, then VHP chief, and Mahant Avaidyanath of Gorakhnath Temple exhorted activists to ensure that the structure was pulled down. Both Avaidyanath and Singhal are now dead.