BJP demands CBI probe into ‘ 2.3L-cr Waqf board scandal’

Published on Sep 21, 2022 11:43 PM IST

The report stated that “over 29,000 acres out of the 54,000 acres that comes under the Waqf board and has been valued at ₹2.3 lakh crore has been misused or encroached upon by individuals, particularly by some prominent Muslim leaders”.

The BJP legislator from Udupi Raghupathi Bhat who raised the issue in the assembly, demanded a probe into a 125-page and 13-volume report submitted to the then state government in 2012. (HT Photo)
The BJP legislator from Udupi Raghupathi Bhat who raised the issue in the assembly, demanded a probe into a 125-page and 13-volume report submitted to the then state government in 2012. (HT Photo)
By, Bengaluru

Accusing the Waqf board of “misusing crores worth of lands”, legislators from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday demanded that the board be abolished and asked that the 2.3 lakh crore “scandal” be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The BJP legislator from Udupi Raghupathi Bhat who raised the issue in the assembly, demanded a probe into a 125-page and 13-volume report submitted to the then state government in 2012 by former state minorities commission chairman and joint spokesperson of the state unit of the BJP Anwar Manippady.

The report stated that “over 29,000 acres out of the 54,000 acres that comes under the Waqf board and has been valued at 2.3 lakh crore has been misused or encroached upon by individuals, particularly by some prominent Muslim leaders”.

“The Waqf board has misused crores worth of lands and the same should be probed. When you (government) can bring all Hindu religious establishments under the government, (why has) Waqf remained in the hands of a few people... It does not benefit ordinary Muslims and the board should be removed across the country,” BJP legislator from Vijayapura Basanagouda Patil (Yatnal) said during a session in the assembly.

“The CBI should probe this,” he added.

Bhat accused the Congress of remaining silent on one of the biggest corruption scandals in the state.

Bhat said that since the report was given to the government in 2012, the issue has been heard by the courts, the cabinet and even the Lokayukta but no action has been taken on the same to punish the culprits.

The discussions come even as the Congress intensified its campaign to target the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government over corruption, using the 40% commission issue as well as other issues to pile pressure on the ruling party ahead of the 2023 assembly elections.

Replying to the allegations, Karnataka’s minister for Muzarai, Haj and Wakf Shashikala Jolle said, “The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has rejected the report on at least four occasions despite the Lokayukta and high court order to look into the issue and also discuss it in the legislature.”

The BJP accused the Congress of turning a blind eye to the report and accused them of acting like the “saviours and representatives” of minorities while facilitating their exploitation.

BJP legislator from Puttur Sanjeeva Matandoor said that the “Congress spend hours on a 60 crore scandal by a government official but has not spoken a word about the Waqf scandal”.

“Why did your government not take up the issue? Why did your cabinet reject this (report)? Waqf land has been misused and no probe was ordered even after the courts said that there are some irregularities. They (Congress) spoke about a 60 crore land scandal for two hours but nothing on this,” he said.

He was referring to an issue raised by Congress legislator, Krishna Byre Gowda who said that “government officials had brazenly flouted all the norms and handed over nearly 23 acres of land to a private person who was not entitled to the same”.

Deputy leader of the opposition, UT Kader poked fun at the BJP, stating that “the saffron party was showing concern for minorities even though they do not speak about other pressing issues”.

“The report was tabled over two years ago. When did we say that it should not be discussed? But why did you bring it now? Because you are trying to deflect attention away from the 40% commission scandal,” Kader said as BJP legislators raised slogans against the Congress.

The report was tabled in the assembly and in the council in 2020 but the same was not discussed as only a part of the report was kept in front of the House.

The Congress has been putting pressure on the BJP-led state government over allegations that it demands at least 40% commission to provide any public services, award tenders and other kickbacks.

“We are taking the evidence less 40% commission issue up for discussion in which you (Congress) have moved an adjournment motion,” chief minister Basavaraja Bommai said.

“All this Waqf land is government land and over the years, it has been encroached upon and is a bigger corruption (scandal) than this (40% commission),” Bommai said.

Karnataka’s minister for law, parliamentary affairs and minor irrigation JC Madhuswamy said“We will study the report and then make a decision. There is no question of the government backing out from this.”

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