Rae Bareli, April, 23 : "The Babri mosque in Ayodhya was under greater threat from Hindu karsewaks than from the Pakistani ISI in 1992," senior IPS officer Anju Gupta told a special CBI court here Friday.
Replying to questions during the course of a cross-examination in the court, which is holding trial in the Ayodhya mosque demolition case, Gupta refuted the suggestion of defence lawyers that there was serious threat to the 16th century mosque from the Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency.
She did not deny that the then zonal inspector general of police A.K. Sharan had briefed police officers on duty in Ayodhya, a day before the Dec 6, 1992, demolition, on some intelligence inputs about a threat of attack to the mosque by ISI infiltrators, so as to spark off communal trouble in the country.
She, however, made it a point to assert, "but that threat was stated to be far less than the local level threat from karsewaks."
Gupta, who last month accused former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani of complicity in the demolition of the mosque, was grilled and nearly cornered by a battery of lawyers who seemed bent upon projecting her as a "mouthpiece" of the central government.
The Deputy Inspector General level IPS officer was on her first posting as assistant superintendent of police in Ayodhya when the mosque was pulled down by Hindu karsewaks Dec 6, 1992. In that capacity, she was also entrusted with Advani's personal security.
Defence counsel Hari Dutt Sharma left no stone unturned to establish that Gupta had given a "tailor-made" statement before the special court essentially because she was currently posted as director in the Cabinet Secretariat, while her husband, also an IPS officer, was Officer on Special Duty to Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
While Gupta went about vehemently refuting all such attributes, Sharma and his team of lawyers were out to prove that her statement before the court March 26 did not tally with what she had stated in her eyewitness account to the CBI in 1993.
"There is no change in my statement", she asserted, while claiming, "I had stated all this before the investigating officer in 1993 as well; why it does not appear on record is for the investigating officer to explain."
The lawyer then shot back, "How could you not cross check whether your statement was recorded properly or not? After all, you are an IPS officer who should be well aware of the investigating procedures."