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Transparent Deal: Ram Temple Trust Gen Secy on Alleged Land Scam

The Ram Temple Trust said that it will not comment on the issue yet.

Updated
India
3 min read
Congress workers at a protest site.
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Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday, 13 June, accused the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust of a land scam, in which the price of land changed from Rs 2 crore to Rs 18.5 crore per piece in just 10 minutes.

On Monday, the general secretary of the trust, Champat Rai, issued a statement in Hindi, saying that all land transactions of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra were carried out with transparency.

He had earlier said:

“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.”
Champat Rai, the general secretary of the trust, according to news agency ANI.

"Some political leaders are misleading people. It is meant to mislead society, the people concerned are political and hence motivated by political hatred," he added.

UP deputy CM Dinesh Sharma hit out at those alleging corruption in purchase of land in Ayodhya, saying “some people do not leave any opportunity to defame Ram Janmabhoomi.”

Police personnel try to stop Congress workers protesting against the alleged Ram Mandir Trust land scam, near the CM’s residence in Lucknow.
Police personnel try to stop Congress workers protesting against the alleged Ram Mandir Trust land scam, near the CM’s residence in Lucknow.
(Photo: PTI) 

The Allegations

AAP leader Sanjay Singh released several documents on social media and said, "Ravi Mohan Tiwari and Sultan Ansari bought land worth Rs 2 crore at 7.10 pm. At 7.15 pm, Champat Rai of Ram Janmabhoomi Trust bought this land from them for Rs 18.5 crore. Out of this Rs 18.5 crore, Rs 17 crore was paid through RTGS. This means, there has been an increase of Rs 5.5 lakh every second. Is there any place in the world where land prices change so quickly? But this happens at Lord Ram's birthplace," Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

"Devotion of crores of devotees, who donated for the construction of the temple, is at stake," Singh added.

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What the Trust Has Said

On Monday, Rai Issued a statement on Twitter saying that the Trust “carried out all transactions in a transparent manner and all payments were sent directly to bank accounts as part of a fixed protocol for all such acquisitions.”

Saying that the Trust looked to acquire land along the Ram Mandir complex's retaining wall, the 12,080-square metre land purchased was the suitable property.

As per Rai, the Trust’s enquiries revealed that the property dealers were offering the land at Rs 1,423 per square foot – an amount much less than the market rate.

He added, "Following an agreement on the price, the sellers were asked to fullfil any earlier obligations they had on the land.”

SP, Cong Demand Action

The SP sought a CBI probe into the alleged land, adding that Trust member Anil Mishra and mayor of Ayodhya Rishikesh Upadhyay were witnesses in both the sale agreements, Pandey said.

Attacking the BJP for duping lord Ram, Congress demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the alleged Ram Temple Trust land scam.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on his part, said:

“Sri Ram himself is justice, truth and faith. Cheating in his name is a deviance from faith.”

“Such people should be punished. The SC must take cognisance,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, meanwhile tweeted a video message.

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The controversy surrounding Ram temple in Ayodhya comes ahead of the Uttar Pradesh state elections, scheduled to be held in 2022.

The Trust was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 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.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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