The Congress on Friday demanded the resignation of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel for allegedly favouring her daughter with land near the Gir lion sanctuary at cheap rates during her tenure as the revenue minister in the state government headed by Narendra Modi.
The party also demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be constituted by the Supreme Court to probe the allegation that Patel had given 250 acres of land to a private enterprise run by business associates of her daughter Anar Jayesh Patel for Rs 60,000 an acre while the notified value of land was Rs 50 lakh an acre. The company allegedly owns 400 acres of prime land near the Gir sanctuary.
“We want a time-bound probe monitored by the Supreme Court. And for a fair probe, it is necessary that then revenue minister and current Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel resign from her post,” Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said. Patel still continues to hold the portfolio of revenue department that clears land deals.
“The land near the Gir lion sanctuary was allotted on October 27, 2010. As many as 250 acres of land was given for Rs 60,000 per acre whereas the notified value then was Rs 50 lakh per acre. So, the land worth Rs 125 crore was given away at a throwaway price of Rs 1.5 crore,” he said.
Sharma alleged that when Modi was the Gujarat CM, “nepotism flourished and public land was plundered” to promote commerce and business. “Modi turned a blind eye towards the dubious land deal. All this happened under his watch,” he added.
Refuting the charges, state BJP vice-president IK Jadeja said, “The Congress has furnished no proofs to prove that the deal was illegal. The rules and norms were followed. This is an attempt to malign the image of the first woman CM of Gujarat.” However, Sharma insisted that in the light of the PM’s assurance to the nation of ‘zero tolerance for corruption’, it has become “imperative that he comes clean on this matter to uphold the dignity” of the Prime Minister’s Office. He added the issue would “definitely” be raised in budget session of Parliament.
Though indirectly, Anar defended herself on Facebook, saying she entered business “to take care of family needs” and has always been “righteous and ethical”.