New Delhi: The Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan Commission of Inquiry was appointed on December 16, 1992, 10 days after the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
M S Liberhan, then a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was assigned the task of probing the sequence of events that led to the occurrences at the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex on December 6, 1992, resulting in the destruction of the structure.
In a notification issued, the then Union Home Secretary, Madhav Godbole had said that the Commission would submit its report to the Central government "as soon as possible but not later than three months".
But with 48 extensions, the Liberhan panel became the longest Commission of Inquiry in the history of Independent India. The last extension was in March this year for three months. It took the Commission 16-and-a-half years to submit its 900-plus-page report.
By June 30, 2009, when the report was submitted to Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh, the Union Government had spent over Rs eight crore on the commission, making it the most costliest ever. Most of the expenses was spent on salary and perks of the supporting staff.
As part of its brief, the Liberhan Commission had been asked to look into the role played by the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh and his ministerial colleagues, officials of the UP Government, central leaders and by individuals, agencies concerned and organisations in bringing down the structure.
The commission held 399 sittings and in the course of its investigation, examined powerful people like former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao, BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh, VHP leader Ashok Singhal, the Congress's Arjun Singh, and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
On November 23, 2009, a national daily reported that it had access to the report and quoted what it claimed was portions from it. This lead to an uproar in Parliament with the Opposition demanding to know how the report had leakd before it was tabled in the two Houss. The Government has assured that it will table the report with an ATR(Action Taken Report) during the winter session of the Parliament.