RTI reply reveals Cong gave Asaram land at less than market rate
A Right to Information (RTI) reply has revealed that 283 kanals for establishing the Asaram ashram in Bhagwati Nagar here were allotted in 2007 at less than the prevailing rate under pressure from the Congress.india Updated: Nov 19, 2013 21:28 IST
A Right to Information (RTI) reply has revealed that 283 kanals for establishing the Asaram ashram in Bhagwati Nagar here were allotted in 2007 at less than the prevailing rate under pressure from the Congress.
The recommendations were made by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former union minister Moti Lal Vohra. Besides causing a causing a huge loss to the state exchequer, the sale was also in violation of rules.
According to the reply, the Congress leaders had written letters to former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, requesting the state government to allot the land to the Asaram Trust at subsidised rates.
In 2007, the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) made a plan to sell plots on the land adjoining the ashram in Bhagwati Nagar to the economically weaker sections of the society. However, no action was taken and the money returned to the aspirants.
After RTI activist Balwinder Singh under the Right to Information Act last month sought records of land deeds from the JDA regarding allotment of the ashram land at Bhagwati Nagar, it was found that land was sold at Rs 50,000 per kanal, far less than the market rate. As the current rate is more than Rs 1 crore per kanal, the present market value of the property is around `300 crore. However, the JDA was planning to sell that land at Rs 6 lakh per kanal.
The land allotment documents also show that the-then general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot on December 2, 2005, wrote to the-then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, urging him to allot the land at Bagwati Nagar on nominal prices. In a similar request on November 30, 2005, former union minister Moti Lal Vohra sought the allotment of the land in Bhagwati Nagar to Asaram Trust. At that time, Vohra was a Rajya Sabha MP.
The RTI reply also mentions that the land was already under possession of the Asaram Trust at that time, and the deputy secretary of the state housing board in 2006 had written to the JDA advising it to cancel the lease immediately as the land sale was in violation of the laws.
After Asaram was accused of sexual exploitation, many of his ashrmas in the country were reclaimed after they were declared illegal.