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Liberhan Commission concludes
recording evidence

January 22, 2003 23:14 IST

A decade after its constitution, the Liberhan Commission probing the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya, completed recording of evidence on Wednesday.

Its last witness, former prime minister V P Singh, alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was involved in the demolition.

The Commission will start hearing the arguments on March 7. Parties have also been given time till March 1 for their submissions, if any, in writing.

Set up on December 16, 1992 by an order of the Union Home Ministry, the Commission headed by Justice M S Liberhan, was expected to submit its report within three months.

The Commission, however, made slow progress, with 99 witnesses including Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kischenchan Advani and journalist Mark Tully examined till date.

While 53 deposed as government witnesses, 14 were examined for the defence and 31 for the Commission. Former premier Narasimha Rao was examined as an extra witness.

Deposing as a witness for the Commission, Singh, charged the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh of failing to take effective measures to protect the disputed structure.

Asked if he had any evidence of BJP's involvement, Singh said it is 'open knowledge' that the party went around the country saying the temple would be built there. They played a vital role in building up the psychology, he said.

Singh said he had informed Rao on December 3 about his apprehensions about the structure and requested him to take adequate steps to protect it.

Rao, however, was 'obstinate' and had 'blind faith' that the BJP would not disturb the status quo at the disputed site in violation of the Supreme Court direction, Singh said.

Asked if he had brought this matter to the notice of Kalyan Singh, he said the question did not arise as it was expected the chief minister would act otherwise.

Asked if he was targeting the BJP to avenge the fall of his government following the party's withdrawal of support, the former prime minister said, "Fundamental problems over the mandal and mandir issues arose between us and so we parted company," he added.

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