Congress scaled up its demand on Saturday for an SIT probe monitored by the Supreme Court, saying it should probe all land allotments by the Gujarat government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was 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 spokesperson Anand Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.
He alleged that there was “plunder” of public land and forest land during Modi’s tenure as the chief minister as they were given for a “pittance” to “corporate cronies” and others without following due procedure.
Modi was chief minister for some 12 years after succeeding Keshubhai Patel in October 2001. Anandiben Patel became the CM when he became the Prime Minister in May 2014.
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.
He also sought to know if proper evaluation or price determination for this government land was done.
Besides, he 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.
In 2010, the Gujarat government is believed to have allotted 250 acres of land next to Gir Lion Sanctuary to Wildwoods Resorts and Realties Pvt Ltd for setting up a resort which was allotted at a price of Rs 15 per square metre or Rs 60,000 per acre.
Replying to questions, Sharma said the issue would definitely be raised in the Budget Session of Parliament as it pertained directly to the Prime Minister “who has claimed that he has zero tolerance towards corruption”.
“It is necessary that the Prime Minister breaks his silence and answers questions on the issue. It is in the interest of the institution of Prime Minister that he should come clean”, he said.
Besides, he insisted that only an SIT monitored by the Supreme Court could probe the matter as it involved a former chief minister who is the present the Prime Minister. “We are very fair and correct in our demand.”
Congress has already demanded resignation of chief minister Anandiben Patel, besides setting up of a SIT.