PATNA: The grand alliance government in Bihar has started investigating the purchase of several land parcels in 23 district of the state by BJP leaders in weeks leading up to the demonetisation move announced by PM Narendra Modi on November 8.
“We have called for all documents related to these land purchases from the registry offices in the districts. We have already received documents from seven districts. A review of all these land deals will take place before appropriate action is taken,” said Abdul Jalil Mastan, the minister for registration, excise and prohibition on Thursday.
JD(U), the party of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the three-party alliance government, had levelled grave allegations against BJP leaders over the land deals worth several crores of rupees that were transacted between September and the first week of November. JD(U) leaders had displayed some land deal documents to allege that cash payments were made in many of the deals and that the saffron party had taken illegal advantage of the demonetisation exercise.
“After the registration department looks at the land deal documents and prepares a note, the revenue and land reforms department will take further action,” said Madan Mohan Jha, Bihar’s revenue and land reforms minister. “Prima facie it looks like the land deals have not been done as per the law,” he added.
BJP leaders, who assert that the land parcels were purchased in order to build the party’s offices in Bihar’s district headquarters towns and other towns, have claimed that all rules were followed in the deals. Most of the land was purchased in the name of BJP national president Amit Shah. Leaders of the three ruling parties – JD(U), RJD and Congress – have been alleging that BJP leaders had prior information about demonetisation and that they bought the land in order to “make their black money white”. JD(U) has demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).
Youth Congress leaders, who began a 48-hour demonstration demanding a judicial probe into the land deals by BJP leaders, on Thursday ended their protest when the two ministers assured of a probe already running.
Although BJP says the registered value for the land parcels was paid through bank transfer, property documents of some plots indicate that the amounts were paid in “nakad” or cash, said sources in the registration department. “A high-level probe is already underway. An official statement regarding the wrongdoing in all these transactions would be made once all the land deal documents are received and reviewed,” said a senior official familiar with the ongoing probe.