Advani, others must apologise to nation over MP land scam: Cong

Says top BJP brass was willing accomplices in Kushabhau Thakre Trust land scam


Sweta Ranjan | April 6, 2011

Congress on Wednesday struck out at the BJP top brass over the Kushabhau Thakre Trust land controversy, saying that senior leaders like L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and venkaiah Naidu were "willing accomplices" in a "criminal conspiracy" to grab land.

Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said that Congress had raised the issue earlier also, highlighting the at the land allocation in this case had been done six months before the trust even came into existence in July 2006.

"What the BJP top leadership has done is a violation of land-use policy which was changed thrice to suit the purposes of the trust," Natarajan said at a press conference here on Wednesday.

The 20 acres of land in question were valued at Rs 60 crores in 2006. The district magistrate of Bhopal had recommended that the allocation charges for the land be pegged at Rs 4.64 crores and the annual rent be at Rs 27 lakh. But it turned out that the trust had paid only Re 1 per annum from the start.

"The BJP government of Madhya Pradesh then and now colluded with party's top leadership in a criminal conspiracy with the intent to cheat people of the state. The land use was first changed from public to semi-public and then marked for the use of the trust," Natarajan said. Advani, Joshi and Naidu are trustees while Kailash Doshi is the secretary of the Kushabhau Thakre Trust.

"This is an act of shameful, blatant and completely brazen corruption on the part of BJP. The fact that senior BJP leadership are complicit and willing accomplices in the conspiracy to defraud the people of MP assaults the conscience of the whole nation," the Congress spokesperson said.

Natarajan said, "L K Advani and entire party should apologise to the nation for having defrauded the people. The Madhya Pradesh chief minister to be called upon to explain the equence of events that led to the the implementation of the criminal conspiracy. A FIR should be filed against those involved in the scam. The Indian Penal Code and the prevention of corruption act should be invoked to punish those involved."

Related stories:

BJP to study SC ruling on Kushabhau Thakre trust land

Bhopal, PTI

BJP today said it will decide on its next course of action after studying the Supreme Court judgement quashing allotment of land, allegedly given away at a throwaway price to the Kushabhau Thakre Trust here.

"The party has heard the judgement cancelling the state government notification for allotting around 30 acres of land to the Trust. We will comment on the judgement only after we get an authorised copy of it," state BJP spokesman, Hitesh Vajpayee told PTI.

He said as per his knowledge, the land allotment had been quashed merely on technical grounds and therefore "can be rectified."

Citing an example, he stated that it was being said that the application for getting the land was made to the government, way before the Trust came into existence.

He said that there were a number of moral reasons for allotting land to the Trust and these were much more important than any technical grounds.

The land was alloted to the trust, named after the late BJP leader on September 25, 2004 by Uma Bharti, the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

The apex court passed the order on a petition filed by Akhil Bhartiya Upbhokta Congress, a Bhopal-based consumers' society, challenging the government's decision on the ground that the land at Basvadiya village was given at a throwaway price to the Trust in violation of the laws.

The trustees include senior party leaders L K Advani, M Venkaiah Naidu and Murli Manohar Joshi.

SC quashes land allocation by MP BJP govt

New Delhi, PTI

In an embarassment to the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, the supreme court on Wednesday quashed the decision of the state authorities to allot at a throwaway price land to a trust named after late party leader Kushabhau Thakre.

The court cancelled the state government notification for alloting around 30 acres of land to the trust whose trustees include senior party leaders L K Advani, M Venkaiah Naidu and Murli Manohar Joshi.

A bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly directed the authority concerned to take possession of the land which was allotted on September 25, 2004 by the then Madhya Pradesh government headed by Uma Bharti.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Akhil Bhartiya Upbhokta Congress, a consumers' society registered in MP, challenging the government's decision on the ground that the land at Basvadiya village was given at a throwaway price to the trust in violation of laws.

Reacting to the order, the Congress accused the BJP of being hypocritical on the issue of alleged corruption.

"While they (The BJP) have tom-tommed the issue of alleged corruption, they have failed to act, whether it is in Karnataka, whether it is in Madhya Pradesh where Rs 60 crore of land was given for Rupee one to a trust which was an RSS affiliate," Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said.

"So, if the supreme court has quashed the allotment of land, we welcome the order and I do hope the BJP will now introspect on its hypocrisy," he said.

The consumers' society had approached the apex court after the MP high court had refused to quash the land allotment.

The apex court had reserved its order on January 19 after hearing extensively the arguments of the consumers' society and the state government.

Defending its decision on the allotment issue, the state government had contended that there was nothing wrong in alloting the land to a trust named after political leaders as the centre and many other states have given huge chunks of land to several trusts in the name of prominent political figures in the past.

The state government had argued that if uniform parameters were to be applied for all trusts created in the name of the political leaders, then all such allotments made by the Union government were open to scrutiny of the top court.



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