Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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Liberhan panel gives Kalyan 3 weeks to depose
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 7
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure the Babri Masjid was demolished at Ayodhya, was today granted three weeks’ time by the Liberhan Commission, probing the destruction, to appear before it.

The commission directed him to appear before it on September 2 and 3 to record his statement as a witness.

Mr Kalyan Singh, who was heading the BJP government when the mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, had been summoned by the commission to record his evidence after he had publicly accused Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, HRD Minister M.M. Joshi and other Sangh Parivar top leaders of ‘conspiring’ to destroy the mosque.

The former Chief Minister, sacked from the BJP about three years ago for anti-party activities, in an application moved before the commission through his counsel B.B. Saxena, had sought four weeks’ time to appear before it stating that he needed some time to examine the documents relating to Ayodhya matter.

Mr Justice M.S. Liberhan, heading the commission, allowed three weeks’ time to Mr Kalyan Singh subject to his giving an undertaking that he would positively appear before the panel, which had issued summons to him last month.

His summoning was sought by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board and a Muslim citizen following his public statements accusing Mr Vajpayee, Mr Advani, Mr Joshi and others of conspiring to demolish the mosque.

Mr Kalyan Singh, in the application, had said since his writ petition against the earlier summons by the commission was pending before the Delhi High Court and the matter had also gone to the Supreme Court. “There was no occasion for him to inspect the huge records of the commission collected during the past 10 years.”

Since he had been out of the government for a long time, he was not in a position to inspect the records, Mr Kalyan Singh said.

“The order of inquiry seems to be totally against Kalyan Singh and the then (UP) government,” the application said, adding the position of Mr Kalyan Singh in the Ayodhya civil suit was that of the defendant not of a witness.

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