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Kalyan to testify against Advani

Lucknow, June 22: Kalyan Singh today welcomed the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s demand that the Liberhan Commission summon him again.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he was willing to testify before the commission as well as the CBI special court in Rae Bareli, which is trying .K. Advani and seven top BJP-VHP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Kalyan accused senior BJP and RSS leaders of hatching a conspiracy to demolish the masjid after the Centre’s counsel, R.. Gupta, told the commission that the Kalyan government was guilty of not taking adequate steps to protect the shrine in 1992.

The former chief minister accused the leaders of betrayal “by keeping me in dark”. He said Gupta himself had prepared the undertaking he gave the Supreme Court in the presence of Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia and Union minister Swami Chinmayanand at a meeting in Jhandewalan.

Kalyan said he was seeking legal opinion to go on record before the commission to counter charges made against him by Gupta. “I have also decided to testify against (deputy Prime Minister) Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case trial in the Rae Bareli special court,” he said. “It’s high time these hypocrites were exposed,” the former chief minister added.

Chinmayanand today denied that he or the Rajmata had given Kalyan any undertaking at a meeting in Jhandewalan. “No such meeting was held. If required, I am prepared to testify before the commission as well as the CBI special court to expose Kalyan Singh’s lies,” he said.

Chinmayanand admitted that VHP and RSS leaders had planned to start the kar seva with the construction of a temple. “But after our (Rajmata and my) undertaking to the apex court that no fresh construction would be taken up during the kar seva, we shelved the plan.”

Kalyan has also alleged that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was part of the conspiracy. Advani, Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi and VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who have been recently chargesheeted by the CBI, were the masterminds behind the demolition along with then RSS chief Raju Bhaiyya and his successor K.C. Sudarshan, he added.

If the Rashtriya Kranti Dal leader carries out his threat to testify, his disclosures might give a twist to BJP leaders’ recent attempts to distance themselves from the temple cause, political observers feel. Kalyan had so far avoided deposing before the commission on the basis of a stay order from Allahabad High Court.

Lawyers think Kalyan’s testimony could be significant. “He could corroborate recent allegations by the five accused in the demolition case underway in the Lucknow special court against Advani and top Sangh leaders,” I.B. Singh, who represents some of the accused in the demolition case, said.

Till now, Kalyan has not appeared before the Lucknow special court, which was earlier trying both demolition cases, even though he was one of the accused named by the CBI in its chargesheet.

After Allahabad High Court struck down a government notification transferring the case against Advani and others to the Lucknow court in 2001, Kalyan and Advani were among the 21 people discharged.

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