Ram Mandir Trust Files FIR Against Delhi Man Over ‘Fraud’ Website

The complaint has been filed against Avinash on 12 April at Ayodhya’s Shri Ram Janmabhoomi police station.

Updated
India
4 min read
Champat Rai is senior VHP leader and general secretary of the  Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust and on the right is the logo of the trust that was unveiled recently.
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A complaint has been filed by general secretary of the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, Champat Rai, against a man in Delhi for allegedly impersonating the trust and taking donations from people on behalf of the trust. The complaint, that The Quint has a copy of, has been filed on 12 April at Ayodhya's Shri Ram Janmabhoomi police station.

The impersonation is regarding a website with the URL rammandirayodhya.in started by the accused, whose name is Avinash and is a 35-year-old resident of Delhi. He said he was shocked that this complaint has been filed, "I have made no such demands for donation for the construction of the Ram Mandir or impersonated the trust," he says.

A screenshot of the website.
A screenshot of the website.
(Photo: Screenshot of website)

A case has been registered on the basis of this complaint under section 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 463 (forgery), 468 (forgery of purpose of cheating), 465 (punishment for forgery) of the Indian Penal Code, SHO Ram Krishna Rana said.

The Quint has accessed the contents of the complaint and spoke to Avinash on the allegations made against him.  

The Complaint Registered by the Ram Mandir Trust

The complaint starts with referring to the Supreme Court directions on the Ayodhya verdict, "The government of India on 5 February 2020 formed a trust called the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra." Then the complaint goes on to name the 15 members of the trust.

The complaint then details the State Bank of India account that the Ram Mandir trust opened on 19 February and clarifies that the trust 'is the only authorised entity to collect donations in India for the construction of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple'.

The operative part of the complaint reads: It has come to the notice of the Trust that in the name of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple construction, using the Trust’s logo, a bogus entity by the name of Shri Ram Lala claims to be working for the said construction and has opened a twitter account as well as a website named rammandirayodhya to collect donations. This is illegal and the society could get fooled and donate in the name of temple construction to this bogus entity.

The donate now option was removed by Avinash after he learned of the complaint. 
The donate now option was removed by Avinash after he learned of the complaint. 
(Photo: Screenshot of website)

The personal details of Avinash have been listed after, including the domain name, the registrant's name, address, phone number, email ID  etc.

‘Not Impersonating Anyone’: Avinash

The disclosure on the bottom of the screenshot reads, “This donation is not realted to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. We use this amount for further Website Development.(sic)“
The disclosure on the bottom of the screenshot reads, “This donation is not realted to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. We use this amount for further Website Development.(sic)“
(Photo: Screenshot of website)

Talking about why he started this website in 2015, he says, "I had a simple concept, I do not understand why this has become such a big deal. I took the domain name for this website in 2015. Recently I added the page for donating to the website, which clearly mentions that please donate for website development. To develop a good website with facts, one needs money. My website reads that, "The donation is not related to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. We use this amount for further website development. Despite this being clearly mentioned, do not understand why they have lodged a complaint against me."

Reacting to the complaint, Avinash says, "When I got to know on 13 April morning through a text message, I thought it was a mistake. Then I found the number and called the station house officer of the police station in Ayodhya and he confirmed than an FIR was filed. When I asked him to see a copy, he said I have to come to Ayodhya to take it. When I said I was in Delhi and this was a period of lockdown, he asked me to come by car. But I do not have a car," he said.

Avinash says he earns Rs 25,000-30,000 a month working as a marketing executive. He lives in Delhi with family and has been receiving threats, "You're the first reporter to call me about this. There are some Hindi channels that have given details about my number, the colony l live in and my address as well. I live with my parents, including one child. I've got calls from people who are intimidating and scaring me. I get calls and no one talks as well. How is any of this acceptable? If someone comes to my home tomorrow morning, then?"

After hearing about the complaint, Avinash has removed the donate page from his website. "I have an interest in religion and am a devotee of Ram. Above that when I got the URL I wanted, I began writing about the Ram Mandir." Speaking about what he plans to do ahead, he says, "The lockdown is on and there is only so much I can do. I don't know if I need to get a lawyer. Do I?"

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