The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Liberhan plea

New Delhi, July 10: The Centre today opposed summoning of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani by the Liberhan Commission probing the sequence of events leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, reports our legal correspondent.

The commission took up for hearing an application by Mohammad Aslam, alias Bhure, who has urged the panel to summon Vajpayee, Advani and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh in the wake of Kalyan’s recent allegation that the Prime Minister knew of the conspiracy to demolish the mosque and that his deputy and Sangh Parivar leaders ordered its demolition.

On Bhure’s petition, the Supreme Court last year banned all religious activity on the 67.703 acres of acquired land adjacent to the disputed plot. Bhure has filed separate applications seeking to summon Vajpayee and Kalyan while urging the panel to recall Advani as witness. Counsel for the Centre, Lala Ram Gupta, said the two leaders should not be summoned on the basis of allegations by a politician seeking to derive political mileage.

He told the panel the Centre did not wish to examine any new witness or recall any witness who had already been examined.

Counsel for Advani, Satya Pal Jain, told the commission he would oppose the application seeking to summon his client again. He sought time to file a reply.

All parties have been directed to file their replies to the application before July 21.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board also filed an application today to summon Kalyan. The former chief minister, during whose tenure the mosque was demolished, has said he will seek legal opinion on whether to appear or not.

Opposing the application to summon Vajpayee, the Centre said recording of evidence before the panel had been closed. The government had already concluded its final argument and did not wish to examine any witness, Gupta said.

Counsel for Kalyan, B.B. Saxena also opposed the application seeking to summon his client. The former chief minister has said he fears his deposition before the panel could be used against him in the trial court.

The commission directed Bhure’s counsel to file an affidavit on the allegations made in the application.

The panel will take up the applications on July 21 and decide if the Prime Minister and his deputy should be summoned.

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