The CBI Monday moved a special court to summon former Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh as accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, hours after he rejoined the BJP on completing his term as governor.
The investigating agency moved the court weeks after the 87-year-old leader’s tenure ended as Rajasthan governor, a constitutional post that offered him immunity from standing trial. Singh is likely to face trial for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
As the trial is being conducted on a day-to-day basis, the CBI application may be taken up for adjudication on September 11.
Ironically, the development came on a day Kalyan Singh challenged opposition parties to clarify their stand on the construction of a Ram temple at that spot.
“Ayodhya is a sacred pilgrim spot. Construction of a temple of Lord Ram is a matter of faith for crores of people. And Lord Ram himself is a symbol of faith for crores of people of the country,” Singh said at a press conference after accepting the party’s membership in the presence of UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
“I do not want to do any politics over this. But what I want is that all political parties should make clear their stand before the people — whether they are in favour of the construction of a Ram temple or not,” the 87-year-old further said.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered revival of the criminal conspiracy charges against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti. All the accused are on bail.
It also clarified that Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, could not be brought in as accused to face trial as governors enjoyed immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court had told CBI to summon Kalyan Singh as an accused as soon as he ceased to be the governor.
Article 361 of the Constitution confers immunity to the President and governors from criminal and civil cases during their terms of office.
According to the CBI case against Kalyan Singh, he had given an assurance before the National Integration Council as the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister that he would not allow the demolition.
The Supreme Court had permitted only a symbolic “kar sewa” at the disputed site. But he allegedly acted contrary to his assurances, according to the 1997 order of a Lucknow special judge subsequent to a CBI chargesheet against him in 1993.
(Inputs from PTI)