A top official leading the filming of the Gyanvapi mosque complex for a case was sacked by a court in Varanasi today over leaks allegedly by a private cameraperson hired by him. The court also gave two more days for the report of filming at the Gyanvapi Masjid in a case involving claims that parts of a temple are inside the mosque complex.
Ajay Mishra was removed as survey commissioner after lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners and the mosque respondents had a heated argument in court today over the findings of the filming being leaked to the media even before the report was submitted to court.
Vishal Singh, appointed the new survey head, had complained that Ajay Mishra had hired a private cameraman.
"I did nothing wrong. I was betrayed by Vishal Singh. He took advantage of my trusting nature," Mr Mishra told NDTV.
"We prepared the report together till 12 am last night. I had no idea Vishal Singh was conspiring against me. I feel really sad. I was not biased. I will not say anything about the survey," he said.
Vishal Singh said he had complained against Ajay Mishra to the court because the cameraman hired by him had leaked information on the filming. "I had given the petition regarding the conduct of Ajay Mishra. Ajay Mishra had appointed a videographer who was giving statements in the media and spreading rumours. I am saying with full responsibility that my report will be fair," he said.
Admitting that the videographer he had hired had leaked details, Mr Mishra said: "What can I do about it? I hired the cameraman, he cheated."
The court is hearing the petition of five Hindu women who claim there are idols of Hindu gods and goddesses inside the mosque.
On the last day of the court-ordered filming on Monday, the lawyer for the Hindu petitioners claimed a "Shivling" was found at a pond used for 'Wazoo' or purification rituals before namaaz, inside the mosque complex.
A mosque management committee member, however, has disputed the claim, saying the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the reservoir.
On Monday, the court directed the Varanasi district administration to seal the spot.
The Supreme Court, which is hearing a petition by the Gyanvapi mosque committee challenging the survey, said the "Shivling" area should be protected without impeding Muslims from using the mosque for worship.