Lucknow/Ayodhya: Two opposition leaders in UP on Sunday accused Shriram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust general secretary Champat Rai awas, of buying a piece of land worth Rs 2 crore at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore for the Ram temple premises..
The allegation, strongly refuted by Rai, was made by two opposition leaders- AAP's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and a former minister in the Samajwadi Party government, Pawan Pandey.
Both the leaders alleged that Rai, representing the Trust purchased the land, measuring 1.208 hectares and located in Bag Bjaisi village under Sadar tehsil of Ayodhya district, for a price of Rs 18.50 crore on March 18 this year from the first purchaser, who had bought it minutes earlier from its original owners for a sum of Rs 2 crores.
Though the the temple body has brushed the charge aside as frivolous, terming it a case of money laundering, both Singh and Pandey has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
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.
Former Samajwadi Party MLA and Uttar Pradesh minister Pawan Pandey today held a press conference in Ayodhya alleging that the fraudulent land deal had taken place with the connivance of local BJP leaders and some Trust member
He showed some documents that allegedly prove that a property located next to the Ram Janmabhoomi site was traded at a multi-fold markup. The documents were allegedly the stamp duty papers of both transactions and had common 'witnesses' -- the Mayor of Ayodhya and a local who is a member of the Trust -- according to Mr Pandey.
Similar allegations were made at a separate press conference by AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh.
The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly polls are expected to be held in early 2022. The Ram temple in Ayodhya has often been an emotive issue in the state's politics.