Ready for any inquiry: Chhattisgarh minister on his wife acquiring forest land
Chhattisgarh minister Brijmohan Agrawal, whose wife allegedly acquired forest land and is building a resort on it, has said he is ready for any probe after chief minister Raman Singh sought a report into the charges.
Sarita Agrawal allegedly acquired 4.12 hector of government land, raising questions of propriety and conflict of interest.
“I am ready for any inquiry,” Agrawal, who is the minister for agriculture, water resources and religious trusts and endowments, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday, hours after the chief minister asked for the chief secretary to look into the accusations.
The allegations have embarrassed the government as well as the ruling BJP, which often targeted its opponents over corruption charges and promised a clean administration.
Chhattisgarh is due for assembly elections next year, with Raman Singh eyeing a fourth consecutive term in the mineral-rich state.
The state Congress has demanded an inquiry and resignation of Agarwal, who has been Raipur South MLA since 1990.
“The allegations are politically motivated... I bought the land in a legal way and also shown it my affidavit to election commission,” Agarwal said.
According to reports in the Indian Express, Sarita bought the land near Sirpur in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh in September 2009 and is building a resort on it along with her son.
Several Buddhist sites have been excavated at Sirpur, also identified by as a potential tourist destination by Agrawal’s ministry.
The land was donated by a farmer Vishnu Ram Sahu to Madhya Pradesh’s water resources department in the year 1994 for public welfare.
Later it was transferred to the forest department and after nine years Rs 22.90 lakh was spent on the afforestation of the land.
The reports have said the land purchase was red-flagged by several officials and a farmer leader but no action was taken.