Ram Mandir's layout
Ram Mandir's layout
ANI Photo

Lucknow: The land purchase by the Ayodhya mandir trust is embroiled in an unsavoury controversy with two real estate dealers being accused of allegedly purchasing a property from an individual for ₹2 crores and selling it -- minutes later -- to the Trust for ₹18.5 crores.

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.

The allegation has emanated from the Aam Adami Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha member and in charge of U.P. Sanjay Singh and one Pawan Pandey, a former Samajwadi Party legislator. They have both accused the Ram Mandir Trust set up by the Centre last year of pulling off the illicit land deal. The temple body has debunked the charge, dismissing it as frivolous.

According to the AAP leader, the transaction took place on March 18 this year; in both deals the witness is allegedly the same person who is also a member of the trust.

‘‘What gold did this property throw up in a matter of minutes that its price went up from ₹2 crores to ₹18 crores in a matter of minutes? This means loot to the tune of ₹16.5 crores has taken place. There should be a CBI enquiry," the SP leader said.

"Crores of people gave donations to the Ram Temple Trust. They dug into their savings to donate. If this is what you do with their money, then this is an insult to the 120 crores people of the country," Pandey said.

As per the documents presented by Singh, the land in question belonged to one Kusum Pathak, who sold it to Sultan Ansari first on March 18 this year for Rs 2 crore, and on the same day, within a few minutes, the same land was purchased by the Ram Mandir trust for Rs 18.5 crore.

Singh has alleged that the trust had purchased stamps for the registration of the land deal in advance; both the deals were executed on the same day -- March 18 -- with a trust member a witness in both transactions.

Meanwhile, reacting to this allegation the general secretary of the trust, Champat Rai, said that he is not rattled by such allegations and that the entire matter would be looked into.

However, another seer from Ayodhya, Mahant Raju Das of Hanuman Garhi, said that the trust should conduct an enquiry into the allegations levelled by the AAP leader. He said that if the allegations were found to be false, he would sue Singh in the court.

It may be mentioned that the Ram Mandir trust had decided to expand the temple complex from 70 acres to 107 acres this year in January. It was decided that for the expansion of the temple complex, land adjacent to it would be purchased from private owners.

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