India

‘16 crore profit in minutes’: GoI established Ram Mandir Trust accused of land scam

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Ayodhya: Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have accused the Ram Mandir Trust, established by the Narendra Modi led Government of India (GoI) last year, of orchestrating an illegal land purchase in Ayodhya.

The transaction, according to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), took place in March this year. According to the claim, two real estate brokers allegedly bought a property from an individual for 2 crores and sold it to the Trust for 18.5 crore minutes later.

The claims are noteworthy since the Ram temple in Ayodhya is a contentious subject in Uttar Pradesh, which is set to have Assembly elections next year.

The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra is a Trust established by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s administration in February 2020 to oversee and manage the temple’s construction following a Supreme Court decision. In the verdict, it was given about 70 acres of property, and the centre nominated 12 of its 15 members.

Pawan Pandey, a former Samajwadi Party MLA and Uttar Pradesh minister, held a press conference in Ayodhya on Sunday, saying that the fraudulent land purchase was carried out with the help of local BJP leaders and some Trust members. He displayed paperwork purporting to demonstrate that a property near the Ram Janmabhoomi site was sold at a multi-fold profit.

Reports quoting Pandey, said that the documents were the stamp duty paperwork for both transactions and had common ‘witnesses’ — the Mayor of Ayodhya and a local who is a member of the Trust.

“What gold did this property throw up that its price went from Rs 2 crores to Rs 18 crores-plus in a matter of minutes? This means loot to the tune of Rs 16.5 crores has taken place. There should be a CBI enquiry,” reports said quoting Samajwadi Party leader.

While as, Pandey said, “Crores of people gave donations to the Ram Temple Trust. They dug into their savings to donate. If this is what you do to their money, then this is an insult to the 120 crore people of the country.”

Sanjay Singh, an AAP politician and Rajya Sabha member, made similar claims at a separate press conference. “No one can even imagine there will be corruption in the name of Lord Ram. But these documents show that crores of rupees have been embezzled,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, Champat Rai termed the claims “misleading” and “politically motivated,” noting that all temple land purchased thus far was below market value.

The Trust said in a statement, “Allegations (of fraud) are misleading and motivated by political hatred. All lands that Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra has purchased so far have been bought at a price much less than the open market price.”

Rai said, “After the Supreme Court’s decision on Ram Janmabhoomi on November 9, 2019, innumerable people from across the country started coming to Ayodhya to buy land. Land prices have increased. The plot on which newspaper discussion is being conducted is a very prominent place near the railway station.” He went on to say that land purchases and sales are made after mutual consultation and agreement.

 

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