Ex-counsel says Liberhan’s comments on him are ‘vile’

New Delhi, Nov 25 (Inditop.com) The former counsel to the Liberhan Commission Wednesday described as “vile” attacks on him by judge M.S. Liberhan in the report indicting Hindutva activists for the 1992 Babri mosque razing.

Emphasising that he would not like to “dignify” Liberhan’s charge that he forestalled the submission of the 1,029-page report, Anupam Gupta said he was happy that he quit the Commission at the right time.

Gupta, who was with the Commission for 15 years, stressed he took strong exception to the indictment of former prime minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Dec 6, 1992 mosque razing.

At the same time, he pointed out that BJP leader L.K. Advani, widely seen as the most visible face of the Ayodhya movement, had been let off lightly.

“Justice Liberhan’s observation against me a is a vile, personal attack and I would not like to dignify it with a response,” Gupta told IANS from Chandigarh Wednesday.

Explaining why he took 17 long years to complete the report, Liberha had blamed Gupta and accused him of betraying the trust reposed by the Commission.

“Faced with an unhelpful, recalcitrant counsel, I had to perforce seek the services of another lawyer,” Liberhan writes in his report submitted to parliament Tuesday.

Speaking to Inditop, Gupta justified his decision to part ways with the judge in 2007.

“After reading through the report I am satisfied that I took the right decision to disassociate myself from the Commission in 2007 and not to assist or involve in the writing of the report,” he said.

The one-man Commission lists 68 people who it said were individually culpable “for leading the country to the brink of communal discord”.

These include Vajpayee along with his colleagues like Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi besides Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

“Both what Justice Liberhan has written upon and what he has omitted confirms the fundamental differences in our respective approaches to the problem,” said Gupta.

“The perspective of ideology and history which was one of my major contributions to the inquiry proceedings is almost completely absent in the report.”

In Gupta’s reckoning, Vajpayee has been unfairly blamed.

“I take strong exception to the indictment of Vajpayee who was never summoned or examined by the Commission. On the contrary, the Commission had consciously decided not to summon him and even refused an application for summoning him in July 2003.”

In his report, Liberhan refers to Vajpayee as one of the party’s “pseudo-moderates” and bracketed him with hardline colleagues when it came to the demolition of the mosque.

“I also believe that Liberhan has been too light and general on Advani,” said Gupta.

“He has deliberately been relegated to one among the 68. Advani was not just a member of the herd. He was the leader who carried the Ayodhya movement on his shoulders.”