Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar, Nov 30:
Less than a week after Congress accused BJP of going on a land buying spree in Bihar before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bills in the country, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala has alleged that several such land deals were done in Odisha as well.
Briefing reporters in New Delhi, Surjewala called demonetisation the “biggest scam” and accused BJP of buying lands at prices lower than market rates – indicating that a part of the deal could have been made in cash now demonetised.
According to Surjewala, the state unit of BJP purchased lands across 18 districts of the state before the demonetisation move was announced and urged BJP to reveal the money “paid over the table and the amount paid under the table”.
Citing some of the examples, he added that former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Surendra Lath was signatory in a two acre land deal made in Kendrapara on August 30, 2016 for Rs 45 lakh – which is way below its market rate. Besides, similar purchases were made in Jagatsinghpur on September 19, Berhampur and Jharsuguda in October.
He further called upon Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to issue clarifications on the purchases and demanded all financial and land dealings of BJP and RSS of last six months to be made public.
On his part, backing the claims of Surjewala, PCC President Prasad Harichandan said, “On paper, the price of the land BJP purchased in Kendrapara to build its district headquarters is 45 lakhs. However, the market price stands at Rs 1.5 crore. BJP should explain its sources of income.”
Similar was the stand of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal.
“These are serious allegations. BJP national leadership and its President Amit Shah need to do the explaining if the land deals did really take place,” said BJD Spokesperson Pratap Deb.
Odisha BJP General Secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra, on the other hand, explained that the land deals had nothing to do with demonetisation.
“There is nothing illegal about it. It is all in public domain and the registration of the lands have been made in accordance with the rulebooks of the State Government. We have procured land in 18-19 districts and construction will begin shortly,” said Baxipatra.