PATNA: Bihar’s ruling alliance parties on Friday found a handy stick to beat BJP after news reports in a section of the media claimed that the saffron party had purchased huge quantities of land across Bihar in the fortnight before PM Narendra Modi declared demonetisation of two high-value currency notes.
Asserting that the purchase of land by BJP in 22 district headquarters towns of the state in the last week of October and the first week of November was conducted with “cash that is black money”, JD(U) state spokesperson Neeraj Kumar demanded a probe into the purchase by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).
BJP leaders, however, said the purchase of land was done through “completely legal methods” and that the purchases and the exchange of money as the price of the land have been documented well. BJP says the land was purchased in order to construct party offices in Bihar’s district headquarters. “Why is it that BJP remembered construction of its party offices only now, just two weeks before the central government’s denomination decision was announced on November 8 evening?
This clearly shows that BJP leaders had prior information about the denomination move,” said JD(U) spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan at a news conference. RJD and Congress, the two other ruling allies, also hit out at BJP and demanded an “immediate and thorough” probe into BJP’s purchase of land. Senior BJP functionaries apparently went on a land purchase spree across Bihar and bought land ranging between 250 sq feet and half an acre, in several districts, including Madhepura, Lakhisarai, Madhubani, Katihar, Arwal and Kishanganj.
With the transactions ranging between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 1.16 crore, the total transactions for purchase of land in Bihar allegedly accounted for about Rs 50 crore. “There was absolutely no illegality involved in the purchase of these land purchases. The party (BJP) bought the land at the circle rates fixed by the government.
Any allegations of illegality is baseless,” said senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, a former deputy chief minister of Bihar. RJD legislator Bhai Birendra demanded a high-level probe into BJP’s “secretive purchase” of land. “BJP’s action has exposed the Centre’s and the party’s lie that the currency ban decision was a closely guarded move and that there was no hidden agenda involved,” he added.
BJP MLA Sanjeev Chaurasia, who was reportedly played a key role in facilitating the land purchases, said the deals were executed through “perfectly legal means”. Significantly, reports of the land purchases came in on the first day of Bihar Assembly’s winter session. BJP is likely to face a series of attacks both inside and outside the Assembly for alleged violation of rules in the purchases of land.