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'This is corruption in the name of Lord Ram'

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
June 14, 2021 15:17 IST
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'Why are they not paying the same price for the land of farmers which they are taking over for developmental work?'

IMAGE: The approved design for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Photograph: Kind courtesy @ShriRamTeerth/Twitter

A day after he alleged financial foul play involving the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra in a land deal in Ayodhya, former Samajwadi Party MLA Pawan Pandey demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation probe the case and find out the wrongdoings if any.

On Sunday, Pandey alleged that a 12,080 square metre piece of land in Ayodhya's Vijeshwar area was purchased for Rs 2 crores (Rs 20 million) by Ravi Mohan Tiwari and Sultan Ansari on March 18. And 10 minutes later, the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra bought the same land for Rs 18.5 crores (Rs 185 million).

Explaining the chronology of events to Rediff.com, Pandey said, "This piece of land in Ayodhya was purchased by Sultan Ansari and Ravi Tiwari for Rs 2 crore from Kusum Pathak and Harish Pathak on March 18, at 7.10 pm. There were two witnesses to the deal -- Anil Mishra, a member of the Ram temple trust, and Rishikesh Upadhyay, the mayor of Ayodhya."

"And only 10 minutes later, the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra purchased the same land from Sultan Ansari and Ravi Tiwari for Rs 18.5 crore, out of which Rs 17 crore (Rs 170 million) was transferred through RTGS.

"Interestingly, in this deal too, the witnesses are the same -- Anil Mishra and Rishikesh Upadhyay," Pandey said on Monday.

Raising doubts over the deal, Pandey asked, "How can land price increase by Rs 16.5 crore in 10 minutes? And the same trustees are witnesses in this deal too. Doesn't it seem fishy? Therefore, I am demanding a CBI probe into this matter because this is corruption in the name of Lord Ram."

Champat Rai, secretary, Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra, issued a clarification over the controversy, saying, 'The allegations are misleading and motivated by political hatred. All the land that the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra has purchased so far have been bought at a price much less than the open market price.'

In the past, Rai said many unsubstantiated allegations were levelled against people like him, including the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Asked about Rai's remarks, Pandey said, "Ram Janambhoomi trustees are not Mahatma Gandhi. Could there be a comparison between Mahatma Gandhi and Champat Rai? There is none. Bapu is worshipped across the world."

When pointed out that the Ram Janambhoomi Trust, in its defence, claim that the price of land in Ayodhya has risen significantly after the Supreme Court verdict favouring a Ram temple in the city, Pandey asked, "If that is the case, why are they not paying the same price for the land of farmers which they are taking over for developmental work?"

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
 
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