Updated: January 1, 2022 2:13:20 pm
A ONE-MEMBER inquiry committee set up by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe land deals in Ayodhya involving relatives of officials and elected public representatives has submitted its report. The report will be placed before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath next week.
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had ordered the inquiry after The Indian Express published an investigative report on December 22 that elected public representatives and relatives of state government officials bought land parcels in Ayodhya after the November 9, 2019, Supreme Court verdict clearing construction of a Ram temple in the district.
The Chief Minister had taken cognisance of the report the day it was published and ordered an inquiry. Radhey Shyam Mishra, Special Secretary, Department of Revenue, Uttar Pradesh, was tasked to conduct the inquiry. Sources said he had visited Ayodhya to check the records of the land registries and related documents. He also inspected sites of certain properties.
Mishra was not available for comments.
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Manoj Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), Uttar Pradesh, told The Indian Express that Mishra has submitted his report and that it will be presented to the CM next week.
The newspaper’s investigation had found that at least 15 buyers of land parcels in Ayodhya included local elected representatives, close relatives of bureaucrats who were posted in Ayodhya or continue to serve in the district, and local revenue officials whose job was to authenticate land transactions.
One set of these transactions raised further questions of propriety and conflict of interest given that the seller in three cases, the Maharshi Ramayan Vidyapeeth Trust (MRVT), is under scrutiny — for alleged irregularities in purchase of land from Dalit villagers — by the very same officials whose relatives bought land parcels.
The bureaucrats whose relatives purchased land parcels included the Divisional Commissioner MP Agrawal, former District Magistrate of Ayodhya Anuj Jha, former DIG Deepak Kumar and former Chief Revenue Officer Purushottam Das Gupta. Local politicians or their kin who bought land included Indra Pratap Tiwari (Khabbu Tiwari), who was MLA (Gosaiganj) but is disqualified now since he has been arrested, Ved Prakash Gupta, MLA (Ayodhya) and Rishikesh Upadhyay, Mayor of Ayodhya.
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