The Ram Mandir Trust set up by the Centre last year has been accused of pulling off an illicit land deal, in which two real estate dealers allegedly purchased a property for Rs 2 crore and selling to the Trust for Rs 18.5 crore within minutes of the first transaction.
The allegation has been made by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which claim the transaction took place in March this year. The temple body has, however, brushed the charge aside as frivolous.
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra is a Trust that was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in February 2020 to oversee and manage the construction of the temple based on a Supreme Court verdict. It was awarded around 70 acres of land in the ruling and 12 of its 15 members are nominated by the Centre.
Former Samajwadi Party MLA and Uttar Pradesh minister Pawan Pandey today held a press conference in Ayodhya alleging that the fraudulent land deal had taken place with the connivance of local BJP leaders and some Trust members.
He showed some documents that allegedly prove that a property located next to the Ram Janmabhoomi site was traded at a multi-fold markup. The documents were allegedly the stamp duty papers of both transactions and had common ‘witnesses’ — the Mayor of Ayodhya and a local who is a member of the Trust — according to Mr Pandey.
“What gold did this property throw up in a matter of minutes 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,” the SP leader said.
“Crores of people gave made 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,” Mr Pandey said.
Similar allegations were made at a separate press conference by AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh.
“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,” Mr Singh said.
The Trust, however, dismissed the allegations as unworthy of commenting on.
“All kinds of allegations have been made for over a century. Some also blamed us for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. We do not worry about such allegations. You should not either,” said VHP leader Champat Rai, who is also Secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra.
When asked if he would comment on the allegations, Mr Rai snapped back saying: “No. We will study it.”
The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly polls are expected to be held in early 2022. The Ram temple in Ayodhya has often been an emotive issue in the state’s politics.
With inputs from NDTV