Ayodhya probe panel gets its 44th extension

February 29th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The term of the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry, set up to probe the sequence of events leading to the 1992 razing of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, has been extended again by two months till April 30 — the 44th extension since it was formed more than 15 years ago. A home ministry announcement stated that the term of the commission of inquiry, which was to expire Friday, had been extended by two months up to April 30.

The one-man panel led by retired Madras high court chief justice M.S. Liberhan, one of the country’s longest running inquiry commissions, has cost the government over Rs.73.60 million.

Besides identifying those who played a role in the destruction of the 16th century mosque, the commission is expected to unravel why and how the demolition took place and name the larger forces and actors responsible for it.

It was constituted within a fortnight of the razing of the disputed structure on Dec 6, 1992.

The commission has also had its share of controversy, with the most recent one involving Anupam Gupta, the lawyer attached to the commission.

Gupta, who has been associated with the commission for over a decade, has stated that he wasn’t sure if Justice Liberhan would like to address the role played by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani in the demolition.

When the commission’s report is made public, it is sure to prove a political hot potato.

The commission has held 399 sittings and examined several politicians including former prime minister the late P.V. Narasimha Rao and BJP leaders Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh. Several senior bureaucrats and policemen too were examined.

Technically, a commission of inquiry has no punitive or prosecutory powers and its findings are only recommendatory in nature. But considering that this commission has an important mandate, its findings are keenly looked forward to.

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