Ayodhya Temple is again amidst political turmoil after two opposition parties alleged the temple’s trust of financial impropriety.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has asked the trust members to resign till they are cleared of corruption allegations.
However, Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra secretary, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Champat Rai defied the allegation in a series of tweets.
“The Trust carried out all transactions in a transparent manner and all payments were sent directly to bank accounts as part of a fixed protocol for all such acquisitions,” Rai tweeted.
On June 13, Aam Aadmi Party and Samajwadi Party held separate press conferences. The party members alleged that the Ram Mandir Trust purchased the land where the temple is being built at an inflated price.
The party members claimed the transactions happened on March 18 this year, when two real estate agents purchased the land for Rs 2 crores and sold it to Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust for Rs 18.5 crore.
According to Aam Aadmi Party leader and Member of Parliament, Sanjay Singh, the land is estimated to be around Rs 5.80 crore.
The land was purchased by real estate agents Sultan Ansari and Ravi Mohan Tiwari from Kusum Pathak and Harish Pathak for Rs 2 crore. Anil Mishra, a member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust; and Rishikesh Upadhyay, Mayor of Ayodhya were the witnesses.
The land was purchased by dealers at 7:10 pm and within a matter of five minutes, it was sold to the trust for 18.5 crores. An amount of Rs 17 crores was transferred through RTGS.
Sultan Ansari and Ravi Mohan Tiwari were contacted. While Ansari did not respond, Tiwari said the agreement was made several years ago for 2 crores.
However, after the Supreme Court verdict, the value of the land increased. He purchased the land for Rs 2 crores but said the actual price of the land will be approximately Rs 20 crores. He sold the land for Rs 18.5 crores since it’s a matter of religion and faith.
AAP’s leader Sanjay Singh has demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Samajwadi Party leader Pawan Panday also demanded a CBI inquiry.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the trust said the sellers had bought the land for Rs 2 crores many years ago, and on March 18, they sold it to the Trust.
After the Supreme Court judgment, the price of the land increased, including an influx of buyers, the land was an important landmark alongside being very close to the railway station.
Ayodhya Mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay, one of the witnesses during the sale transactions, confirms that the deal took place years ago.
The trust had deposited over Rs 3,200 crore in the bank until March 31. According to the statement by the trust, more than 4 crore people contributed Rs 10 each, and less than 4 crore people contributed Rs 1,000 or more.
An amount of Rs 80 crore was collected by direct bank transfer. Before the lockdown, Rs 60 lakh was collected from visitors at Ram JanmaBhoomi.
Meanwhile, the opposition has raised concerns regarding the issue. On June 14, a virtual conference held by Congress party spokesperson and general secretary demanded the Supreme Court take cognizance of the incident and issue an investigation.
In November 2019, a five-judge bench gave judgment unanimously in the favor of Ram Lalla. The 2.7 acres of disputed land was handed over to the trust set up by the government which oversees the temple’s construction. The court provided 5 acres of land to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the temple on August 5, 2020.