New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia sought Monday a clarification from the Ram temple trust over the purchase of a piece of land for the proposed shrine in Ayodhya by it at an alleged inflated price. Terming it a ‘scam’, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said the temple is being built using donations made by people and their hard-earned money should not be misused.
Manish Sisodia’s remarks came a day after AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh alleged that Champat Rai, general secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, purchased 1.208 hectares of land worth Rs 2 crore in Ayodhya’s Bag Bjaisi village for Rs 18.5 crore with the help of trust member Anil Mishra.
Terming it a case of money laundering, Singh and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Pawan Pandey sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the matter.
Addressing a press conference Monday here, Sisodia urged the trust to not play with people’s sentiments.
“The Ram Janmabhoomi Trust has purchased a piece of land in Ayodhya for Rs 18.5 crore. It was sold for just Rs 2 crore five minutes before it was bought by the Ram temple trust. There has been a scam in purchasing this land for the pious work of building the Ram temple. The Ram Janmabhoomi Trust must clarify why the land was bought at such a high price,” asserted Sisodia.
“The temple is being built using donations made by people and their sentiments are attached to it. My request to them (Ram temple trust) is only that they should not play with the sentiments of the people who donated their hard-earned money for the temple,” he said.
Singh, who was also present at the press conference, claimed Anil Mishra, trustee of the Ram temple trust, and Rishikesh Upadhyay, mayor of Ayodhya, were present during the finalisation of both the sale agreements.
Trust general secretary Rai has strongly refuted the allegations. “Allegations of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi were also levelled against us. We do not fear allegations. I will study the allegations levelled against us and probe them,” Rai said in a statement.
In a separate development Monday, chief of SBSP Om Prakash Rajbhar backed the demand for a central agency probe into the alleged corruption. He asserted that the BJP and the RSS have made the shrine a ‘medium of business’. Rajbhar also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath when action will be taken against the accused.
Speaking to reporters in Ballia, Rajbhar said: “The temple is a symbol of faith for common people but the BJP and the RSS have made it a medium of business.” The SBSP leader also sought a probe by the CBI and the ED into the ‘scandal’. “The sentiments of crores of devotees have been hurt by this scandal,” he said.