Retired judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who gave the verdict in the high-profile Babri mosque demolition case last year, took oath as the deputy lokayukta or the up-lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
As a judge of the special CBI court, Mr Yadav on September 30, 2020 acquitted all the 32 accused, including BJP veterans LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, in the case of demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
“Yadav was appointed as third ‘up-lokayukta‘ by the Governor on April 6. On Monday, Yadav was administered oath by Lokayukta Sanjay Mishra in the presence of other senior officers,” an official statement said.
The anti-corruption watchdog comprises the Lokayukta and three “up-lokayuktas“.
The other two up-lokayuktas are Shambu Singh Yadav, who was appointed on August 4, 2016, and Dinesh Kumar Singh, who was appointed on June 6, 2020.
The tenure of an “up-lokayukta” is eight years.
The Lokayukta is from a non-political background and functions as a statutory authority probing cases primarily related to corruption, government mismanagement, or abuse of power by public servants or ministers.
The Babri mosque demolition had sparked nationwide riots that killed more than 3,000 people in a decades-long dispute that has fuelled communal tension, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for Hindu renaissance helped bring it to power.
LK Advani, who was then BJP chief, was among 32 people accused of criminal conspiracy and inciting a mob to tear down the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
The mosque stood on a site revered by devout Hindus as the birthplace of the god-king Ram.
In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a Hindu temple to be built at the site, after the Supreme Court paved the way last year, in a decision that also ordered land to be allotted further away for a mosque.