Congress tells its state govts: probe all land deals by BJP and its leaders
Sensing that the party is losing the battle of perception over the note ban announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November, the Congress has decided to step up its attacks on the BJP.
Catch had reported how the BJP went on a land buying spree in Bihar before the announcement of demonetisation. And now, the Congress has asked its state governments in Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to check and see if the BJP has performed similar transactions in these states.
Since the Bihar land deals came under the scanner, the BJP has been on the defensive, claiming that the decision to buy land for party offices in districts across India was taken a year back. BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal had earlier told Catch: "The decision to buy land for party offices was taken a year back and funds were collected for the same. We have been using the same funds for these purchases."
However, the Congress alleges that the market rate for all these land deals is much higher than what has been quoted in the sale deeds. Considering land is a state subject, the Congress has asked its state governments to conduct an in-depth probe of all deals by the BJP or its leaders in the state.
The state leadership has also been instructed to probe whether the party paid less than the circle rates in the respective areas. Even the quantum of cash used for such deals is being looked into.
A senior Congress leader confirmed these developments.
What happened in Bihar
In Bihar, the BJP had bought land in 10 districts in the name of leaders like national president Amit Shah, and this was confirmed by a party functionary, who even claimed that land was bought in all districts of the state. When confronted by the media with these details, senior BJP leader Sushil Modi had said loans had been taken to purchase the land, and payment was made in cheques.
However, documents accessed from Bihar's revenue department revealed that cash worth Rs 2 crore was used for making these payments. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also raised questions about the timing of these purchases.
Like Bihar, the BJP had also purchased land in 18 districts of Odisha before the currency ban, the and Congress had alleged that the market value of these parcels of land was much higher than quoted in official documents. Even here, land was purchased in the name of party leaders.
Allegations and demands
Reacting to this, the Congress's chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said: "The mystery of black money is unravelling with each passing day. Just before demonetisation, the BJP made huge investments in real estate across India. People of this country are demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been talking about transparency and accountability, should declare all details of land purchases that the BJP and the RSS did in the 12 months prior to demonetisation."
The Congress has also been demanding that the bank account details of the BJP and the RSS for the last six months before the PM's announcement should be made public to ensure there was no wrongdoing on their part.
Edited by Shreyas Sharma
More in Catch