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Land Allotments in Gujarat When Modi Was CM Must be Probed by SIT: Congress

Published: 06th February 2016 06:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th February 2016 06:37 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Keeping up the pressure over the Gujarat land row, Congress today demanded setting up of a Supreme Court-monitored SIT to go into all allotments of government land during the tenure of Narendra Modi as the state chief minister.

"The Special Investigative Team monitored by the Supreme Court should cover all the allotments and grants of public land when Anandiben Patel was the Revenue Minister and Modi was the Chief Minister," party's senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters in Delhi.

He alleged that there was "plunder" of public land and forest land during Modi's tenure as Chief Minister as they were given for a "pittance" to "corporate cronies" and others without following due procedure.

In 2010, Gujarat government is believed to have allotted 250 acres of land next to Gir Lion Sanctuary to Wildwoods Resorts and Realties Pvt Ltd (WWRRPL)for setting up a resort which was allotted at a price of Rs 15 per square metre or Rs 60,000 per acre.

Asking Modi to "come clean" on the issue, Sharma sought to know from him whether he was aware of "clear conflict of interest" of the then Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel while allocating government land near Gir Lion Sanctuary to the company which allegedly has close business links with her daughter Anar Patel.

"Was this allocation based on a Cabinet decision and endorsed by (then) Chief Minister (Modi) and whether conflict of interest, if any, was disclosed?" asked Sharma.

In her second Facebook post in two days, Anar Patel admitted that owner of the company which purportedly got the land was her "business partner" in another firm but she had nothing to do with WWRRPL.

"I, Anar Patel, am neither a director nor a share holder in WWRRPL, Anil Infraplus and Parshvatexchem. I don't have anything with WWRRPL, anybody can check with government authority," she said.

"Indeed, Daksheshbhai (Dakshesh Shah, who owns WWRRPL along with Amol Shripal Seth of Anil Infraplus) is my business partner but that doesn't mean that I am there in all his companies. He is a self-made businessman and is in business since last 22 years," she wrote.

"We started a company named "Anar Projects" seven years back with business interest in retails and services. We never took any favour from any government organisation, we strictly followed all rules and regulations in all manners," she said.

Congress also sought to know whether proper evalutaion or price determination for the government land was done.

Sharma asked the Prime Minister whether the allocation of 250 acres of public land next to Gir lion sanctuary was in public interest as also in conformity with laws, regulations and established procedure for alienation of government assets.

"Mr. Prime Minister, we ask you - offer yourself for a fair probe so that accountability can be fixed. No Government agency of the Central Government or State Government can be trusted to conduct a probe about this matter when the principal player happens to be a Chief Minister and the former Chief Minister who is now the Prime Minister," the Congress spokesman said.

Sharma insisted that a probe is needed as "it is very clear that there was a deliberate, conscious promotion of vested interests at the cost of the State exchequer."

Besides, he alleged that the Government then facilitated to the same company purchase of agricultural land which is not allowed.

He said Congress will come out with details on what has happened in Gujarat in this case and "in many other cases".

Asked about Anar's claim that that she has not committed any wrong, Sharma said, "It is nothing but laughable. Nobody can self certify his or her own actions. It can be done by SIT or the Supreme Court".

Anar said, "It's disheartening that my individuality is attacked based on sheer assumptions. I believe in my moral strength not in anyone's favour."

This is her second Facebook post in as many days on the issue amidst demand from Gujarat Congress for the resignation of Anandiben Patel for alleged favour done to her daughter and her business partners over allotting land purportedly worth Rs 122 crore to a private firm at a throw away price of just Rs 1.49 crore in 2010.

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