Lucknow, March 25: The charge of conspiracy may return to haunt L.K. Advani tomorrow when a woman IPS officer who was his personal security officer on the day of the Babri demolition is expected to depose in a Rae Bareli court.
Inspector-general Anju Gupta, now with external intelligence agency RAW in Delhi, had in her CBI statement in 1993 purportedly said that Advani had done nothing to stop the demolition and had charged up the atmosphere with his speeches.
Court sources have confirmed that Gupta, who stood next to Advani as the mosque came down on December 6, 1992, would depose tomorrow.
The Rae Bareli court is trying Advani and seven other Sangh parivar leaders without conspiracy charges. In February 2008, the Supreme Court had for the fourth time rejected petitions to have the eight tried in Lucknow with the rest of the accused — 47 kar sevaks — for conspiracy as well.
However, Babri Masjid Action Committee convener Zafaryab Jilani today said he would make a fresh plea to the trial court to include conspiracy charges against Advani if Guptas deposition matched her purported CBI statement.
The committee is already enthused by the Liberhan Commission report, tabled last November, which has found the demolition pre-meditated and Advani culpable.
In her CBI statement, purportedly leaked to the media a few days ago, Gupta apparently said: Mujhe yaad hai ki Advani ke aate hi mahaul garam ho gaya. Jaise jaise Advani bolte gaye, mahaul garam hota gaya. Sree Lal Krishna Advani ne 2.77 acre zameen ka sandarbh dete hue kaha tha ki mandir yahin banega (I remember that as soon as Advani arrived, the atmosphere got charged up. The more he spoke, the more charged the atmosphere became. Referring to the 2.77-acre plot, he said the temple would be built there).
The purported statement added that Gupta never heard these leaders (Advani and the others) ask the kar sevaks not to bring down the mosque.
Legal experts said that if Gupta repeated these charges in the trial court, if they stood up before cross-examination, and if the court felt they pointed to a conspiracy, the judge could reintroduce the conspiracy charges or order a re-investigation.
The original conspiracy charges against the eight parivar leaders were dropped on an Allahabad High Court directive in 2003.
Over a dozen senior officers from the IAS, IPS, state civil service and central paramilitary forces were at the demolition site, but young Guptas statement to the CBI was the clearest and boldest, sources said. Gupta had joined the IPS in 1990.
A couple of days ago, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar had slammed Guptas purported CBI statement as bogus.
Advani has repeatedly regretted the demolition, calling the day the saddest of his life, and the BJP insists the attack on the mosque had been spontaneous and uncontrollable.
The eight being tried by the Rae Bareli court are Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Ritambhara. They mainly face charges of inflammatory speeches and incitement. More than 17 years after the demolition, the trial has made little progress.