The Congress questioned the silence of the Supreme Court and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Ram Mandir trust, which received donations from people across the country to build the temple in Ayodhya, was accused of having bought another plot of land at inflated rates.
“The trust was constituted by the Prime Minister on the instructions of the Supreme Court. Shouldn’t the Supreme Court take note when the donations given by the people are looted by members of the RSS-BJP, under direct or indirect patronage of the central and state governments?” Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala asked.
“The Supreme Court should intervene if thousands of crore meant for construction of the temple is being eaten up by the thieves,” he said.
Surjewala cited a report in the news portal Newslaundry on Saturday that alleged that a plot that was sold for Rs 20 lakh in February had been bought by the Ram Mandir trust for Rs 2.5 crore in May.
Earlier, it has been alleged that the trust paid Rs 18.5 crore to buy another plot that had been purchased by the seller for Rs 2 crore just minutes earlier. Trustee Champat Rai has denied any wrongdoing in that deal. The Congress has sought a probe by the Supreme Court.
Surjewala continued: “The question is whether the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister will do their duty or not. We leave it to their conscience. Both constitutional responsibility and morality demand their intervention. We are surprised the Chief Justice of India is silent even as the evidence of loot is absolutely clear.
“And why is the Prime Minister not taking action against those who are looting the contributions made by devotees? The Prime Minister will definitely be judged by his action in this case.”
The Congress has firmly rejected the charge by the RSS-BJP that it wanted to delay the construction of the temple by raising such issues, asking the government to respond on the specific point of swindling of funds instead of making wild allegations.
The party sees questions like whether their leaders had contributed to the fund as attempts at diversion from the core concern about loot.
Surjewala repeatedly used words like “sin” and “deceit” while saying that “chanda-chor” and “chanda-khor” hurt the religious sentiments of the devotees.
“Why is the Prime Minister protecting those RSS-BJP leaders who are cheating the God? Even the trust chairman Mahant Nritya Gopaldas has condemned what happened and said he was not consulted on how the money is being spent. Even Sankaracharya Swamy Swaroopanand Saraswati has demanded a probe,” he said.
Arguing that “hawks, masquerading as devotees, have an evil design to loot the donations made by devotees” Surjewala said: “We saw how a piece of land purchased for Rs 2 crore was sold for Rs 18.50 crore within five minutes. Now another case involving BJP leaders has come to light.”
Surjewala then repeated details of the deal cited in the Newslaundry report. He said Deep Narayan, a relative of Ayodhya mayor Rishikesh Upadhyaya, had bought a plot in Ayodhya for Rs 20 lakh in February and sold it to the Ram Mandir trust for Rs 2.5 crore in May.
Upadhyaya, when contacted by Newslaundry, had neither denied nor confirmed that Narayan was a relative. He described the allegations as politically motivated and said the transactions were clean, but added that only the trust or Narayan could comment on the deal.