The BJP on Friday came under attack from the JD(U), RJD and Congress following a report that the party had bought land worth crores in Bihar days before the demonetisation move was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The report in Catch News, a news website, claimed to have accessed deeds of at least 10 such property transactions allegedly done by BJP functionaries in Bihar for the party. The JD(U) and RJD asked the BJP to explain the “spurt” in land purchase and its sources of income through “donations”.
The BJP said it had purchased the plots for opening district party offices and it was a coincidence that 13 of these plots were registered in the last four months.
Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey told The Indian Express: “The fact that we have been purchasing land for party offices at district headquarters has already been in the public domain. Linking it to demonetisation looks preposterous. We have purchased plots for 23 districts… We have full records of the transactions. We made payments through drafts and RTGS.”
He added that the party had purchased a plot in Barh last week — after the demonetisation — and would look for plots for 22 other district offices.
“Why is the BJP being singled out for land purchase? There were thousands of registries in Bihar in the last few months, some of which could have been made in the names of politicians from other parties,” he said. BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “We paid stamp duty and filed I-T returns. Everything is in the public domain.”
JD(U)’s K C Tyagi said: “There were reports on the West Bengal BJP depositing over Rs 2.5 crore just 24 hours before demonetisation, and similar reports are coming from its Rajasthan unit. Now if news of a land purchase spree comes from Bihar, the PM has a lot to explain or else we will press for a high-level probe.”
Another JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar added: “We have worked out that the BJP would need Rs 540 crore and Rs 1,374 crore to build its state and district offices. The party that declared its income as Rs 970 crore in 2015-16, saying half of it came from donations, should tell us how they are getting the money.”
RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha said: “The evidence of huge land purchases by the BJP only exposes the charade of secrecy touted by it since November 8.”
The Congress said that BJP and black money were inextricably linked. “Now it has been revealed that the BJP had, just before the (demonetisation) announcement, purchased properties worth crores in Bihar and other regions through cash and cheque. There is no other innovative way to convert black money into white,” Congress’s Randeep Surjewala said. (With ENS Delhi)