The state government recommended a CBI investigation on Friday into the case of 23 missing files pertaining to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
Chief Minister Mayawati,who made the announcement,said: This is a serious issue. Hence,my government has decided to hand over the investigation to the CBI. Earlier in the day,the Home Department lodged an FIR with the Hazratganj Police Station regarding the missing files under Section 409 of the IPC,which deals with criminal breach of trust by a public servant. No one was named in the FIR.
The government action comes seven years after the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court,which is hearing a case arising out of conflicting claims over the disputed shrine,had first asked the government to submit seven documents. It was only last Tuesday that the government for the first time admitted before the court that not only those seven documents but also as many as 23 files were missing. During these seven years,the state has seen BJP-BSP,SP and BSP governments.
Mayawati said the seven documents were probably in the 23 files carried by Subhash Bhan Sadh,the then OSD in the Home Department,when he went to Delhi to appear before the Liberhan Commission in April 2000. The Delhi Police had said the OSD died in a rail accident,while his family alleged that he was murdered. The files he was carrying were never found. The Chief Minister pointed out that in 2000,a BJP-led government was in office in the state. The FIR with the Hazratganj Police Station was filed by A K Singh,a review officer with the Home Department.
Home Secretary Mahesh Gupta said the department came to know in June that the files were missing from the Communalism Control Cell. The investigation into the case would find out the exact time and place from where the files went missing, he said.
In the FIR,Singh stated that during a hearing on July 11,2002,the High Court had asked for seven documents of 1949 related to the disputed land. The Chief Secretary had formed a committee,led by Principal Secretary (Law),to look into the matter. In its report,submitted on July 4,2009,the committee said 23 files related to the matter were missing.
This report,along with the findings of an inquiry held by Home Secretary Javeed Ahmed on June 5,2009,were submitted to the High Court when Chief Secretary Atul Gupta appeared before the Bench on Tuesday.
On Friday,Chief Standing Counsel D K Upadhyaya informed the court about the lodging of the FIR. At the last hearing,the court had asked the government to inform what action it had taken in the matter. The court fixed the next hearing for July 14.
The Bench,comprising Justices Rafat Alam,Sudhir Agrawal and D V Sharma,is hearing four title suits pertaining to the ownership of the land of the disputed shrine in Ayodhya. The Nirmohi Akahara of Ayodhya and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board are the main litigants. The litigation goes back to December 1949 when idols of Lord Ram were placed in the Babri Masjid.