Amid the controversy over purchase of `forest land’ by Chhattisgarh agriculture minister Brijmohan Agrawal’s wife, Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday said he will take decision on the issue after discussing it with the BJP leadership. “I have seen news reports and also heard reactions of the opposition leaders,” Singh said, speaking to reporters at the airport after arriving from Delhi. “Yesterday the minister (Agrawal) had given a clarification about allegations and said he was ready to face a probe,” the chief minister said.
“I had asked the chief secretary to submit a detailed report which I have received,” he said, adding that the BJP’s central leadership was aware of the issue.
“I will take a decision after having a discussion with the central leadership,” Singh said.
The minister is accused of purchasing 4.12 hectares of forest land in the name of his wife at Jalki near Sirpur, a popular Buddhist site, in Mahasamund district, and constructing a resort there.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangh convener Lalit Chandranahu had first raised the issue last year.
The land, owned by Vishnu Ram Sahu and five other farmers, was handed over to the Water Resources Department (WRD) under a “daanpatra” (gift deed for public use) in 1994.
Later, it became part of 61.72 hectares of land given to the forest department by the WRD to compensate for forest land falling in the submergence area of an irrigation project in Mahasamund.
Chandranahu alleged that Sarita Agrawal, Chhattisgarh agriculture minister Brijmohan Agrawal’s wife, purchased a part of this land in 2009 from the original owners, though it was then a part of forest land.
The minister had on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing, and said the allegations were part of a political conspiracy.
“The land was procured based on revenue records which stated that its ownership was in the name of the farmer. I had mentioned the property in my affidavit (in 2013 election),” he said.
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