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Opposition attacks BJP over Ayodhya ‘land scam’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 09, 2021

Randeep Surjewala

Demands PM to respond on allegations that funds collected from devotees to build a Ram temple is being used to purchase land at inflated prices

Allegations of a land scam in Ayodhya has put the BJP on the defensive ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections in 2022. The Opposition parties demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe while the Ram Janmabhumi Trust and the BJP have refuted the allegations and said they are ready to face any probe.

The Congress demanded the Prime Minister Narendra Modi respond on allegations that funds collected from devotees to build a Ram temple is being used to purchase land at inflated prices.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust purchased 12,080 square metres of land at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh at an inflated price of ₹18.5 crore. “The land was purchased by the temple’s trust at ₹18.5 crore on March 18, and according to land deeds, only a few minutes earlier on the same day Kusum Phatak had sold it for ₹2 crore to Ravi Tiwari and Sultan Ansari from whom the trust bought the land,” charged Surjewala.

He said trust member and BJP leader Anil Mishra and former Mayor of Ayodhya Hrishikesh Upadhyay are signatories to the deal.

“Will the Prime Minister answer if those sinners, who have traded the faith of Lord Ram’s devotees, have his protection,” he asked. “How could BJP leaders commit such a big malpractice in the name of Lord Ram whose words, values and ethical conduct are sworn as ideals. How much more land has been purchased in such a manner at throwaway rates out of funds received for the temple’s construction,” he asked. Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had also levelled similar allegations.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said the Opposition is trying to defame the Ram Janmabhoomi. “The official answer (to allegations of corruption) will be given by officials of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. I would say in one line that there are some people in the opposition who do not like anything positive in context to the Ram Janmabhoomi. Sometimes they say Lord Ram was fictional, and that the Ram Setu did not exist. They also taunt,” Sharma told reporters in Lucknow. Trust general secretary Champat Rai refuted the allegations. “We do not fear allegations. I will study the allegations levelled against us and probe them,” he said.

‘People’s sentiment’

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia asked the trust to not play with people’s sentiments. “The Ram Janmabhoomi Trust has purchased a piece of land in Ayodhya for ₹18.5 crore. It was sold for just ₹2 crore five minutes before it was bought by the Ram temple trust. There has been a scam in purchasing this land for the pious work of building the Ram temple. The Ram Janmabhoomi Trust must clarify why the land was bought at such a high price,” he said.

Published on June 14, 2021

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