BJP paid in cash for land deals in Bihar: Media report
Patna, Nov 26: The BJP's political woes over its land deals in Bihar ahead of demonetisation aggravated on Saturday as a media report quoting official documents said the party purchased the land in cash, contrary to its leaders' claims on Friday.
The Janata Dal-United and the Rashtriya Janata Dal reiterated their demand for high-level probes, including by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
A local Hindi news channel on Saturday telecast a report that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in opposition in Bihar, paid cash to purchase land worth crores of rupees in 25 districts ahead of the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
The media report said it has got sale deeds of land from the registrar office concerned in several districts which mentioned payments in cash.
Till Friday, the BJP leaders -- including Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly Prem Kumar and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi -- repeatedly said the payments were made through cheque and real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) in banks.
Both Prem Kumar and Modi said the party did not commit any wrongdoing and that the land deals were transparent.
After the report on payments in cash, neither of the two BJP leaders was available for comment despite repeated attempts.
BJP legislator Sanjeev Chaurasia, BJP state Vice-President Lal Babu Prasad were among those authorised by BJP President Amit Shah to sign the land deal documents on the party's behalf.
After claiming on Friday about payments through cheque and RTGS, both Chaurasia and Prasad too were unavailable for comments on Saturday.
Janata Dal-United legislator and party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar told IANS that it is now clear that the BJP leaders "lied" on the land deals and that the party used black money for the purchases.
"Where is any chance of doubt after official documents of the sale deeds clearly mention that the landowners were paid in cash?"
The JD-U leader said the documentary evidence had exposed the BJP once again.
Neeraj Kumar said: "The BJP, which has been campaigning against black money and corruption, invested its own black money in crores by purchasing big land parcels in most districts of Bihar ahead of demonetisation. The BJP paid in cash for all these land deals. It should be probed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a high-level committee under the Supreme Court."
Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator Bhai Virendra reiterated his demand for a high-level probe into the land deals.
"It is clear the BJP managed to park its black money by purchasing land worth crores of rupees ahead of the currency ban."
On Friday, Prem Kumar said the purchases were at circle rates fixed by the state government in various districts.
Modi too had said the party maintained accounts of its land deals, and if cash payments were made as alleged, there should be a probe.
"The probe will establish as to who paid the cash and who received it," he said.
According to reports, the BJP purchased the land in more than two dozen districts, including Gaya, Purnea, Siwan, Saharsa, Patna, Madhubani, Katihar, Madhepura, Lakhisarai, Kishanganj and Arwal.
The land area ranged from 250 square feet to about half an acre, purchased for between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 1.16 crore. The land with the highest rate was bought at Rs 1,100 per sq. feet.