Sunday, June 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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Mosque demolished at Advani’s instance: accused

Lucknow, June 7
In a new twist to the Babri Masjid demolition case, five accused today alleged that they had pulled down the disputed structure at Ayodhya at the instigation of L.K. Advani and other senior BJP leaders, a charge denied by the lawyer of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The five — Vinod Vatsa, Santosh, R.C. Khatri, Amar Nath Goyal and R.N. Das — made the allegation while speaking to reporters outside the special CBI court hearing the case here.

They alleged that the VIP accused had got their case separated by “exerting influence” and demanded that all accused should be treated on a par as far as the trial was concerned.

Denying the charge, the Deputy Prime Minister’s lawyer Satyapal Jain said in Chandigarh “there is no evidence against Mr Advani and the allegation seems to be tutored against him”.

“I think there seems to be some mischief somewhere. Otherwise there is no evidence and the credentials of these people who are now saying this is yet to be established”, he said.

Mr Jain said it appeared that “there are some people who might have been instigated by certain people to say something against Mr Advani”.

He said so far as the evidence before the Liberhans Commission of inquiry is concerned, no leader, no witness and no CBI official has said that there is any direct evidence against Mr Advani, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi and Ms Uma Bharati.

“I think in the court also till date no witness has said that they did anything at the asking of Uma Bharati or Advani or Joshi”, he said.

One of the accused R N Das was the priest of the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple inside the then Babri Masjid where offerings and prayers continued for years following the opening of the locks on court order.

The five accused expressed resentment at “being discriminated against those enjoying power” and on whose instigation they had demolished the disputed structure on December 6, 1992.

Mr Jain, who is Mr Advani’s counsel in the Liberhans Commission, asked why it took the accused 12 years to come out with what they had said today.

Alleging that some people were instigating a few people, the former BJP MP from Chandigarh said when the structure was pulled down, there was a Congress government at the Centre, while Mulayam Singh’s government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 1993.

“If Advani or any other BJP leader had anything to do with the structure being pulled down, would the governments opposed to the BJP, both at the state and at the Centre, had spared them?”

“It is on record that both Mr Advani and Mr Joshi had appealed to the kar sevaks to come down from the structure and not vandalise it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress today demanded the immediate resignation of all Union ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, chargesheeted in the Babri Masjid, saying it was widely known that they were the main “conspirators” in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

“The statement of these kar sevaks did not come up suddenly. Their (ministers) names came up ever since the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992. It is known that they are conspirators with the VHP and the Bajrang Dal in the Babri case”, party spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters reacting to a statement by some kar sevaks making accusations against the VIPs accused, including Mr Advani.

Demanding a clarification from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the question of continuation of these ministers in his Council, Mr Sharma said it would be a mockery of democracy if the Home Minister, prosecuted for an alleged criminal act, should continue in government. PTI

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