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Bihar land deals before demonetisation put BJP in a spot

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 25, 2016 23:35 IST
Rai Atul Krishna
The Bihar BJP reportedly purchase plots across the state days before the Prime Minister announced that Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes were no longer legal tender from November 9.

The Bihar BJP reportedly purchase plots across the state days before the Prime Minister announced that Rs 500 and 1,000 banknotes were no longer legal tender from November 9.(AFP FIle Photo)

The BJP on Friday faced embarrassing questions when the Opposition latched on to a news channel’s ‘revelation’ late on Thursday that it had bought large parcels of land in Bihar ahead of demonetisation move on November 8.

“Fully prepared for demonetization”, tweeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, referring to the news about BJP’s land deals ( Office of RG ‏@OfficeOfRG Fully prepared for demonetization!), implying the BJP had prior knowledge of the note ban.

The JD (U), a constituent of the ruling grand alliance, was even more scathing.

On a day when JD(U) president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar reiterated his unequivocal support to demonetisation by calling it “a big step against black money”, JD (U) spokesperson Niraj Kumar held a press conference to target the BJP on its land deals.

“The BJP got registered parcels of land in 25 districts of Bihar between August 20 and November 4 this year. In this manner, the party invested a huge sum of black money in land ahead of the demonetisation move,” Kumar said.

Read | Watch: Adani, Ambani had prior info on demonetisation, says BJP MLA Rajawat

The JD (U) spokesperson went on to identify BJP Digha (Patna) MLA Sanjeev Chaurasia, state vice-president Lal Babu Prasad and state treasurer Dilip Jaiswal as some of the signatories to the land deals. He also wanted the party to come clean on where it had sourced the funds for the deals from.

RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari insisted cash down payments were made in many of the BJP land deals. “We have said all along that the BJP knew in advance about demonetisation and invested its black money in land.”

Read | Exit from benami properties to be tough after demonetisation drive

However, senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi said the allegation was outcome of “somebody’s flight of imagination”. Modi said for over a year the BJP was in the process of buying land for its state headquarters in Patna and for offices in each of the party’s 45 organisational districts in Bihar. “This has nothing to do with demonetisation”, he insisted.

The Congress accused the PM of “selective leakage” of the demonetisation move to his own party people. “This shows who the real supporters of black money are,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that “documents prove” that BJP leaders bought the land just before demonetisation. “Modiji’s mask of fighting black money is off. ” Surjewala said.