CBI Seeks To Summon Former Rajasthan Governor In Babri Case

Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh

Lucknow: Moving swiftly after his term as Rajasthan Governor ended, the CBI on Monday approached a court in Lucknow for summoning Kalyan Singh to face trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Mr Singh, who was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister when the mosque in Ayodhya was demolished, enjoyed protection from trial while he held a constitutional post as Governor.

In Jaipur on Monday, Kalraj Mishra was sworn in as Rajasthan Governor after Mr Singh completed his five-year term. At the party office in Lucknow, Kalyan Singh, 87, rejoined the BJP, indicating that he was keen to get back into politics.

Questioned on Ayodhya by reporters, he challenged opposition parties to make clear their stand on the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

The Central Bureau of Investigation filed an application in a CBI court in Lucknow, seeking to summon Mr Singh to face trial for allegedly conspiring to demolish the Babri mosque. The special court is conducting the trial of those accused in the alleged conspiracy - including senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

The CBI inquired from the agency if Mr Singh no longer holds the constitutional post of Governor. The CBI application may be taken up on Wednesday.

Moving the application, the CBI pleaded that Mr Singh was chargesheeted in 1993. It pleaded that the Supreme Court in its order of April 19, 2017 had said Mr Singh could not be brought to trial because of the constitutional immunity granted to Governors under Article 361 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court had, however, allowed the CBI to approach it for summoning the former chief minister as an accused as soon as he ceased to be a Governor.

All the accused are on bail in the case, which is being heard daily on the top court's directions.

The Supreme Court in 2017 ordered the revival of the demolition case. This is separate from the case to decide the ownership of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

At the BJP office, Mr Singh saidhe opposition parties should make clear their stand on Ayodhya. "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," he said at a press conference.

"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," he said.

After completing his five-year term in Rajasthan, Mr Singh officially returned to the party as a primary member, rejoining in the presence of UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh.

Mr Singh rejected the suggestion on leading the party in Uttar Pradesh, telling reporters that the BJP state president and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were doing a good job.

Mr Singh resigned as Uttar Pradesh chief minister after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.