New Delhi: The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has ordered an investigation into reports that relatives of BJP leaders and government officials allegedly bought land near the upcoming Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought a report within a week and the probe would be conducted by a special secretary-rank officer, The Indian Express quoted Manoj Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), as saying.
The report in the Indian Express said 14 such cases have come to light where land was bought within a 5-km radius of the Ram temple site following the landmark 2019 Supreme Court verdict.
हिंदू सत्य के रास्ते पर चलता है।
हिंदुत्ववादी धर्म की आड़ में लूटता है। pic.twitter.com/Jycl211qut
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 22, 2021
The seller in one set of these transactions was Maharshi Ramayan Vidyapeeth Trust (MRVT), which is under lens for alleged irregularities in purchase of land from Dalit villagers. Interestingly, the trust is being probed by the same officials whose relatives bought the land, rasing questions of conflict of interest.
On November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a trust for the construction of a Ram Temple. It also asked the UP government to allot a 5-acre land to the Sunni Waqf Board for building mosque.
The Indian Express report found that those who bought land near the Ram Temple site included an MLA, Mayor, a member of the state OBC Commission, relatives of the Divisional Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Circle Officer of Police and State Information Commissioner.
The Congress pounced upon the report to attack the BJP, with Rahul Gandhi saying that “Hindutva robs under the guise of religion”.
“Hindu follows the path of truth. Hindutva robs under the guise of religion,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
The issue also echoed in Parliament. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge sought to raise the issue but the House was adjourned when he stood to speak.
Calling it a “land scam”, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said there was an “open loot of land inside Ayodhya city by people connected to the BJP”.
“Respected Modi ji, when will you open your mouth on this open loot? The Congress party, the people of the country and Ram Bhakts are asking these questions. Is this not treason? Is it anything less than treason? The BJP is now running the business of ‘Andher Nagri, Chaupat Raja’ in Ayodhya,” PTI quoted Surjewala as saying.
“It is clear here that the brother-in-law of BJP Mayor sells land worth Rs 18 crore to Ram Mandir Trust in 5 minutes. Rs 25 lakh worth land is sold in 79 days to Ram Mandir Trust for 2.5 crores. Lands which private people cannot sell are also taken away from the donations made by the Ram Mandir Trust,” Randeep Surjewala further said.
The Congress general secretary alleged that BJP MLAs and BJP mayors were usurping land from the weaker sections and Dalits.
Randeep Surjewala there was no sin graver than BJP leaders and officials taking away properties around the Ram temple complex.