Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday alleged that the Centre’s Ram Mandir Trust has pulled off an illicit land deal in Ayodhya. However, Ram temple trust’s general secretary Champat Rai has refuted the allegations.
In a press conference held in Ayodhya, former Samajwadi Party MLA and Uttar Pradesh minister Pawan Pandey alleged that the fraudulent land deal had taken place with the connivance of local BJP leaders and some Trust members. Similar allegations were made at a separate press conference by AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh.
The two Opposition parties have claimed that the price of a piece of land bought by the Ram temple trust changed from ₹2 crore to ₹18.5 crores within minutes. The transaction, which took place in March last year, involved two real estate dealers allegedly purchasing a property from an individual for ₹ 2 crore and selling it minutes later to the Trust for ₹ 18.5 crore, the parties alleged.
They have also sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate into the alleged illicit land deal. The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra is a Trust set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in February 2020. It was formed to oversee and manage the construction of the temple based on a Supreme Court verdict, in which it was awarded around 70 acres of land in the ruling and 12 of its 15 members were nominated by the centre.
The temple body, meanwhile, has brushed the charge aside as frivolous. Champat Rai stated that all land that the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra has bought so far has been purchased at a price much less than market rates.
According to Rai, some political leaders are misleading people. It is meant to mislead society, the people concerned are political and hence motivated by political hatred. After the Supreme Court’s decision on Shri 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. The land that Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra has purchased so far has been bought at a price much less than the open market price, he added.
As the Ram temple in Ayodhya is an emotive issue in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next year, the allegations are significant.