Priyanka, Mayawati seek SC intervention in alleged land ‘scam’ in Ayodhya

It is alleged that MLAs, mayors, relatives of commissioner, SDM and DIG bought land in Ayodhya after SC announced verdict in Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute

New Delhi/Lucknow: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati on Thursday sought the intervention of the Supreme Court in the alleged land ‘scam’ in Ayodhya linked to local MLAs and relatives of state government officials, a day after the Uttar Pradesh government ordered a probe into the matter.

Gandhi also dismissed as an “eyewash” the probe into what she called as Ayodhya land ‘scam’ in areas around the proposed Ram temple while Mayawati demanded that the state government cancel the land deals if the allegations in a media report on the issue are true.

Gandhi said the Supreme Court should take suo motu cognisance of the land deals and hold an inquiry as the Ram temple in Ayodhya is being built following its order.

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Addressing a press conference in Delhi, she accused BJP leaders and officials of indulging in “corruption”, and said they have hurt the faith of people who have donated for the construction of the Ram temple.

A report in The Indian Express on Wednesday claimed that MLAs, mayors, relatives of the commissioner, SDM and DIG bought land in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court announced the verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on November 9, 2019. The long awaited verdict had cleared the way for construction of the Ram temple.

Additional Chief Secretary, Information, Navneet Sehgal told PTI in Lucknow on Wednesday night that “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the Revenue department to probe the matter thoroughly.”

Mayawati, a former UP chief minister, urged the Supreme Court to take note of the media report and order a high-level inquiry into the land deals.

“It is a very serious matter. My party would want the Supreme Court to take notice and if the allegations are true, the state government needs to get the deals cancelled,” she told reporters in Lucknow when asked to comment on the report.

At her news conference, Gandhi also questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the alleged corruption by temple trust members, BJP leaders and officials in buying land for the temple, saying they owe a moral responsibility towards the donors who gave their money out of faith.

The Ram Temple Trust’s money is being “misused to benefit” BJP, RSS and trust members, she alleged, adding land belonging to Dalits which is not allowed to be sold is also being “usurped” and illegally bought by officials and their relatives.

She alleged a misuse of Rs 30 crore worth of Trust’s money donated by the poor and common people, and also shared the details of purported registered land deeds related to the Ram temple in Ayodhya. There was no immediate reaction from the Trust to Gandhi’s allegations.

” As per the registered land deeds, there is a 1300 percent rise in land price within five minutes. The massive corruption in Trust money is very clear, she alleged. There is wholesale corruption happening.

About the probe, Gandhi said it is clear that no real inquiry is going to take place as a district level official is probing the matter, even when big people like the mayor and BJP MLAs are involved. “We do not expect any inquiry to take place and the inquiry should be done by the Supreme Court,” she added.

Asked if the inquiry by district officials is merely an eyewash, she said, “It is, absolutely. That is my view.”

“In my view the court should suo motu intervene as we are talking about the faith of millions, including poor people who have given their savings to the Trust. It is some moral responsibility — owed to them. It is very clear that the officer of that level cannot investigate the mayor of Ayodhya,” she added.

“The moral responsibility on these donations, given out of faith, is of the prime minister and the chief minister. You cannot hurt the faith of people.”

Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Priyanka Gandhi is already fighting the battle in the people’s court and a decision on whether to move court will be taken after discussions within the party. “Forgive me for saying, at times, the people’s court is bigger than the court of law.”

“Property dealers and BJP leaders are indulging in the loot of public money in the name of Lord Ram in Ayodhya,” he said.

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