Modi lied in his poll affidavits, says Congress; urges Election Commission to act

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera has raised the issue of alleged irregularities in the property declared by PM Modi, accusing him of furnishing contradictory information on his assets in Gandhinagar

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera (IANS Photo)
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera (IANS Photo)
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NH Political Bureau

A day after a petition exposing alleged irregularities in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll affidavit was submitted in the Supreme Court, the Congress has demanded action against the Prime Minister under The Representation of People Act,1951.

Launching a scathing attack on Modi, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera raised the issue of alleged irregularities in the property declared by the Prime Minister, accusing him of furnishing contradictory information on his assets in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar.

“The Congress party demands that the Election Commission of India takes thorough cognisance of the seemingly deliberate omissions in PM Modi’s affidavit and take appropriate action under the Representation of People Act,” said Khera, addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters on Tuesday.

Allegations regarding deliberate omissions in PM Modi’s poll affidavit came to light after a public interest litigation was filed on Monday by Maharashtra-based journalist Saket Gokhale, seeking a court-monitored probe into the irregularities in the affidavits submitted by Modi. The petition has been filed under Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression) of the Indian Constitution.

A one-room house stand in the middle of plot No 401 in Sector 1 of Gandhinagar allotted to the then chief minister Narendra Modi
A one-room house stand in the middle of plot No 401 in Sector 1 of Gandhinagar allotted to the then chief minister Narendra Modi

In his petition, referring to various poll affidavits filed by Modi between 2007 to 2014, Gokhale claimed that Modi had previously mentioned a plot of land, plot no 411 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, in his 2007 affidavit for the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Modi lied in his poll affidavits, says Congress; urges Election Commission to act
Modi lied in his poll affidavits, says Congress; urges Election Commission to act

However, the property did not find mention in the prime minister's affidavit for the 2012 state elections or the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Instead, PM Modi declared 1/4th ownership of another property in the same area, plot no 401-A. The former piece of land was missing in PM Modi's 2016 and 2017 asset declarations as well. According to Gokhale, the land records still indicate PM Modi's name.

Pawan Khera pointed out that this particular land, plot number 401-A, does not find mention in the land records in Gandhinagar, though plot number 401 does exist. Interestingly, not only the prime minister but the finance minister Arun Jaitley too mentions plot no 401-A in his affidavit as a piece of land owned by him, though this particular land does not exist in the land records, he added.

The points raised by the Congress spokesperson are:

  • In his declaration on the PMO Website, PM Modi declared that he owns one-fourth of “401/A.” He listed the area of the plot as 14,125.80 square feet—1,312.3 square metres, which is approximately four times the size of the standard plots in Sector 1. PM Modi listed his share as 3531.45 square feet—equaling 328.08 square metres. (approximately the same area as his 2007 affidavit and same area as 2012 affidavit). He noted that he invested ₹2.4 lakh on construction on the plot. The value of his share of the land, according to the declarations, is approximately ₹1 crore.
  • Therefore, In 2007 affidavit, PM Modi listed Plot 411 of Area = 326.22 square metres. In 2012 affidavit, he listed Plot 401/A with a quarter of an ownership, but area of plot is approximately same as of 2007 i.e 326.11 square metres. In 2014, affidavit, Shri Modi listed the same details as of 2012. On PMO Website in 2015, Shri Modi declared Plot 401/A with Area of the plot as 328.08 square metres- Same as the 2007 affidavit.
  • The Area of the Plot remains the same from 2007 to 2015. But the ownership moves from full owner of “Plot 411, Sector 1 Gandhinagar’ to one quarter of the ownership of “Plot No 401/A” in Sector 1 Gandhinagar.
  • Shockingly, There is No such plot is listed as “Plot No 401/A” the Gujarat revenue department’s land records for Gandhinagar, but the same plot is listed in Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley’s 2014 affidavit. Shri Jaitley listed himself as a “1/4th” owner of the same plot as the PM Modi—“Plot 401/A.” Shri Jaitley states in the affidavit that this land was allotted to him by the mamlatdar in Gandhinagar—an office under the district’s collector that is the custodian of land records.
  • Publicly available land records state that Arun Jaitley is the present and sole owner of Plot 401. At the market rates currently prevailing in Gandhinagar, his share of the plot would be worth ₹1.19 crore.
  • The record is however, discordant with previous filings Jaitley made to the Election Commission of India. In a 2006 affidavit, Jaitley had declared that he was the sole owner of Plot 401 in the same sector, measuring 326.22 square metres. Mentions of this sole ownership are missing from his election affidavit for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the public declarations he filed as a Cabinet Minister.
  • Land records of Gujarat’s revenue department, which are available publicly, show Shri Modi as the current sole owner of the plot 411, and Shri Jaitley as the current sole owner of plot 401. There is no record of any plot numbered “401/A”.

Highlighting contradictions in PM’s poll affidavits, Khera said, “Mystery of PM Modi’s property raises several questions of propriety, therefore it should be resolved by the Election Commission.”

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Published: 16 Apr 2019, 4:48 PM