UP govt probe into Ayodhya land ‘scam’ an eyewash, says Priyanka Gandhi

Congress on Thursday described the probe ordered by the Uttar Pradesh government into the Ayodhya land scam as an “eyewash” and demanded a probe by the Supreme Court, alleging that Ram Temple Trust’s money is being misused by leaders of RSS-BJP and government officials.

Party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the alleged corruption by Trust members, BJP and RSS leaders and officials in the buying of land for the temple was “loot” and “misuse” of donations, even as she questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

She told a press conference that the buck does not stop just at the Chief Minister’s door but leads to the Prime Minister’s, as donations for the construction of the temple were received from across the country and they cannot escape “moral responsibility”.

Also Read | Land purchase in Ayodhya by bureaucrats, politicians triggers controversy; Priyanka says BJP is ‘selling faith’ 

Priyanka cited an instance of alleged corruption and claimed that a part of a plot of land measuring 10,000 square metres was sold to the Trust for Rs 8 crore. The remaining 12,000 sq metres of the plot was first sold to Ravi Mohan Tewari for Rs two crore and within five minutes he sold it to the Trust for Rs 18.5 crore and Ayodhya Mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay and Trustee Anil Mishra were witnesses to the deal.

She said that there was a 1,300% per cent rise in land price within five minutes while Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the rise in land price was Rs 5.50 lakh per second.

Priyanka also said that the land belonging to Dalits, which are not allowed to be sold, were bought by officials for further sale. 

“Do you expect a district magistrate level officer can probe the Ayodhya Mayor?…No District Magistrate-level officer has the courage to probe this…This (probe) is an eyewash…The Temple Trust was set up on the orders of the Supreme Court and we expect the Supreme Court to intervene……We do not expect any inquiry to take place and the inquiry should be done by the Supreme Court….The Supreme Court should suo motu take it,” she said.

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She was referring to the investigation ordered by the Uttar Pradesh government following a media report about the alleged irregular land deals in and around Ayodhya.

Claiming that the scam has hurt the faith of people who donated for the construction of the Ram Temple, Priyanka said the BJP leaders have “sold the sentiments, faith and religion” by indulging in “loot” and “misuse” of donations received for the Ram Temple.

Asked whether Congress would approach the court, she said that a decision will be taken after consultations.

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