The reported indictment of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by Liberhan Commission, which investigated the Babri Masjid demolition, is to dilute the role of Advani, advocate Anupam Gupta, counsel for Liberhan Commission from 1999 to 2007, told rediff.com.
Gupta said, "If the reported indictment of Vajpayee in the Liberhan report is true than it is not only illegal but even indefensible in court. Vajpayee cannot be indicted because he was neither given notice nor summoned."
He says, "If we take an ideological or intellectual perspective behind the Ayodhya movement, the indictment of Vajpayee will deflect the attention from Advani, who led the movement."
Gupta who claims to have studied, researched, examined all the aspects of Babri demolition and Advani and other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders role behind it says that, "I never wanted the Liberhan Commission to become like the Jain Commission, which inquired into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. I expected specific charges to be highlighted against the leaders who were involved. The summary that has appeared in press shows that specific charges are not there."
The surprise indictment of Vajpayee will blight the main issue behind the forming of commission, say legal experts. A senior journalist, who has extensively reported on the commission's proceedings, said, "The Indian people wanted clarity on who demolished the Babri Masjid, why and how. Instead the Liberhan Commission, which got 48 extensions in the last 17 years, has ended up creating avoidable controversies. It's a shame for all of us."
Importantly, Gupta said, in 2003 the commission was requested to summon Vajpayee and (the UP chief minister at the time of the demolition) Kalyan Singh. "We had detailed and healthy arguments over it. I had opposed summoning Vajpayee on the ground that he had kept himself at arm's length over Advani's rath yatra and also he was not present at the site in Ayodhya when the masjid was demolished. The main protagonist of the Babri movement was Advani. Kalyan Singh also played a very crucial role. Vajpayee had kept himself at the safe distance from the entire exercise. The Liberhan Commission agreed with my arguments. I even obtained an 18-page order on July 22, 2003."
When asked about the video of Vajpayee's speech just before Babri demolition that supported the issue of the Ram temple and the kar sevaks, Gupta said, "That video of Vajpayee's speech came to light in 2007. By that time recording of evidence was over. If we would have opened the procedure and called him then it would have opened a Pandora's Box. So, we decided to not take that evidence on record. We were already late by 14-15 years."
The leaked report of Liberhan Commission has reportedly indicted BJP leaders like Advani, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar and M M Joshi but has given a clean chit to P V Narsimha Rao, the then Congress prime minister.
According to the leaked report, 'He (Narasimha Rao) rightly concluded that neither the central forces could be deployed by the Union in the totality of facts and circumstances then prevailing; nor could President's Rule be imposed on the basis of the rumours or media reports. Taking such a step would have created bad precedent for the future, damaging the federal structure of the constitution and would have amounted to interference in the state administration.'
Gupta said, "The leaked Liberhan report gives a clean chit to Narasimha Rao and suggests that the commission has been very kind to him."