The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Babri panel wings clipped

New Delhi, June 19: In a move aimed at saving home minister L.K. Advani embarrassment in the Babri demolition case, the Centre today told the Liberhan Commission the “conspiracy angle” should not be probed by the inquiry panel.

Central government counsel Lala Ram Gupta told the commission the “conspiracy angle” was out of the purview of its terms of reference.

However, the terms clearly state that the panel would probe the “sequences of events leading to the demolition”, of which the conspiracy angle is a vital aspect.

Advani, Union human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Uma Bharti are among those chargesheeted in the Rae Bareli special court, which is hearing the cases against the leaders. It is feared that any evidence recorded before the commission could be used against them in the trial.

This is precisely the reason former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh refused to depose before the commission.

Singh had argued, in his petition seeking to stay the summons by the commission, that the evidence before the panel would be used against him in the trial court, putting him in a disadvantageous position as a defendant.

Gupta contended that the “conspiracy angle” was not even in the terms of reference. Instead, he blamed the then Congress government at the Centre for the “lack of security”, which, he said, accounted for the demolition.

The counsel said the “failure to deploy the Central forces, already stationed around the disputed area to protect the structure at Ayodhya”, led a huge mob to demolish the mosque.

But he conceded that the then BJP-led state government in Uttar Pradesh did not have any contingency plan to tackle the situation and also did not coordinate with the Centre in terms of forces and their effective use.

“The state government failed in its duty to deploy the already stationed Central forces,” Gupta told the commission.

Both the Centre and the state government should have “coordinated” and “prepared a plan to protect the disputed structure”, Gupta contended. He added that both should have “foreseen” the “extreme eventuality of the demolition”.

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