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Ayodhya mahants want CBI probe into land deals by Ram Mandir trust, say they are ‘scamming’

Prominent mahants in Ayodhya, including 3 who were party to the Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case, have accused the trust of being corrupt and its members of having vested interests.  

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Lucknow: Several saints in Ayodhya are now demanding a CBI probe into the fraud allegations against the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust. Among them are three who were party to the Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case — Mahant Dharam Das, the head of Nirvani Akhara; Mahant Suresh Das, chief of the Digambar Akhara, and Mahant Sitaram Das of the Nirmohi Akhara.  

Speaking to the media in Ayodhya Friday, Mahant Dharam Das alleged that donations were being misused by the trust. 

“This trust is corrupt. Those who formed this trust have their own vested interests that is why a big scam is happening,” he claimed.

“People have donated money for the Ram Temple, the service of saints and Gau Mata. The money is not for buying land, building hotels and doing business. Those who are doing such things, don’t believe in Lord Ram.” 

The controversy broke last weekend when on 14 June, Sanjay Singh, the AAP’s UP in-charge, alleged that a piece of land in Ayodhya was bought for Rs 2 crore from a couple — Kusum Pathak and Harish Pathak — by Sultan Ansari and Ravi Mohan Tiwari. 

He claimed that the witnesses to the deal were Anil Mishra, a member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, and Rishikesh Upadhyay, the Ayodhya Mayor. He then added that the same land was bought by the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust and Champat Rai, the VHP leader and general secretary of the trust, for Rs 18.5 crore within the “next five minutes”. 

The trust, however, defended the deal, with Rai releasing a statement Monday, claiming that the final price paid for the land was much less than the market price.

But on Thursday, new documents revealed that the same couple, Harish and Kusum Pathak, had also sold a 1.037-hectare plot to the temple trust for Rs 8 crore. 

There has been no trace of the Pathak couple since the controversy broke, adding to the intrigue.

ThePrint reached general secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi trust Champat Rai but his phone was not reachable. Text messages also went undelivered. 

But a source close to members of the trust told ThePrint that it may hold a press conference to rebut the allegations. 

“Pressure is growing for an inquiry, especially from saints who were not accommodated in the trust,” the source said. “The trust may soon hold a press conference to provide point-wise answers to all the allegations.”

Also read: As 2022 UP polls draw near, local BJP allies flex muscles, seek role in Modi, Adityanath govts

Pressure builds for inquiry 

With the allegations piling up, there is a growing clamour in Ayodhya for a probe into the charges. 

The Nirmohi Akhara spokesperson, Mahant Sitaram Das, was among those demanding a high-level inquiry into the matter. 

“I had doubts about these people (trust members) from the very beginning. Now they are scamming,” Das told ThePrint. “I have huge doubts on Champat Rai; I don’t know why he has been made the general secretary. The Ram Temple was actually not a mission of the VHP but that of the Nirmohi Akhara. Our saints have made sacrifices for it. 

“What have these members done for the mandir? They are now defending themselves and property dealers so that the truth does not come out in the open,” he added. “Hence, I demand a high-level inquiry in the matter.”

Mahant Suresh Das, meanwhile, said that if the trust has not done anything wrong, then it should be ready for any probe. 

“They themselves should come forward and call for a CBI probe in this issue,” he said. “I do not have anything against them but the Ram Temple mission was one of Ayodhya’s saints. It was not for politicians and bureaucrats.”

Mahant Kamal Nayan Das — the representative of the trust’s president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das — also told the media that if the opposition is raising questions on the land deals, then a probe should be conducted.  

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: ‘One caste preferred’: UP BJP MLA says Banda varsity chose ‘Singhs’ for 11 of 24 teaching jobs


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