Most of the bureaucrats and police officers of Uttar Pradesh, who served under the Kalyan Singh regime, and whose names find a place in the list of 68 persons, culpable of “leading the country to the brink of communal discord,” in the Liberhan Commission report, are leading a retired life, barring two, who have died, and one, currently on Central deputation.
The two dead are V.K. Saxena and D.B. Rai. The former was the Chief Secretary when the Babri Masjid was demolished and the latter the then Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police. The then Commissioner of the Faizabad Division S.P. Gaur is the one on Central deputation.
S.V.M. Tripathi, who was the Director-General of Police in 1992, went on to become the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force and retired in 1996. He is based in Lucknow.
Another senior police officer holding a key post then was A.K. Sharan, Inspector-General, Lucknow Zone (he has been mentioned as IG Security in the Liberhan report).
When The Hindu contacted Mr. Sharan in Patna, where he is leading a retired life, he recalled that security arrangements fit to control a “mela”-like gathering, such as traffic and access control, were made at Ayodhya. He said that till the morning of December 6, 1992 there was no apprehension that the mosque would be demolished.
Mr. Sharan later became the ADG, Crime Branch, CID (CB-CID) in Uttar Pradesh and retired as the DGP of Uttarakhand (he had opted for Uttarakhand when the hill State was formed).
Rai was suspended along with District Magistrate of Faizabad R.N. Shrivastava on December 7, 1992. After his retirement, he contested and won the 1998 Lok Sabha election from Sultanpur on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. He died this year.
Mr. Shrivastava was reinstated by the Central Administrative Tribunal in 1993 and he retired from service in 1996. Based in Lucknow, he is facing prosecution in the Special CBI court in the Babri demolition case.
Another senior bureaucrat was the then Principal Secretary, Home, Prabhat Kumar. He became the Cabinet Secretary in 1998. He was made Jharkhand Governor by the National Democratic Alliance government but had to quit in controversial circumstances in February 2002.
Alok Sinha (his name has been mentioned as “Ashok Sinha” in the Liberhan report) was Tourism Secretary when the notification (number 3914/41–33/96) dated October 7, 1991, pertaining to the acquisition of 2.7744 acres of land near the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi complex was issued by the Kalyan Singh government. The notification was issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act for “development of tourism purposes and for providing amenities to the pilgrims at Ayodhya.”
Subsequently, by a second notification, dated October 10, 1991, the government dispensed with the inquiry necessary under Section 5 of the Act.
Both the notifications were quashed by a Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court (Bench of Judicature at Lucknow) on December 11, 1992, five days after the demolition of the masjid.
Mr. Sinha served as the Principal Secretary, Home, in the Mulayam Singh regime of 2003 and then went on Central deputation before retiring.
The then DIG, Faizabad Range, Uma Shankar Bajpai, and the then ASP, Faizabad, Akhilesh Mehrotra, retired from service in 1995 and 2008 respectively.
Unlocking of Babri site
It was in 1986 that the Ayodhya issue, which was lying dormant since then, took the centre stage following a verdict by the then District Judge of Faizabad, K.M. Pandey. He ordered the unlocking of the disputed Babri site on February 1, 1986.
The verdict was delivered on a civil appeal filed by Umesh Chandra Pandey, a product of Lucknow University and a Shiv Sena member. In his verdict delivered at 5 p.m. on February 1, 1986, Justice Pandey ordered that the lock be removed as “it was obstructing the pooja by Hindus and the flow of devotees.” The site was unlocked at 5.15 p.m. the same day.
Justice Pandey later became a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court but not before his elevation was twice stalled by Mr. Mulayam Singh, who was the Chief Minister from 1989 to 1991. He died a few years ago.