‘Prepared’ BJP on land buying spree ahead of note ban

Did BJP know of ‘demonetisation’ in advance? Did it pay in cash for buying land in ‘every district’ and in advance for construction of its offices? JD(U) turns the heat on the ruling party


NH Political Bureau

With Janata Dal (United) claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party went on a land buying spree in Bihar in the weeks preceding the announcement on demonetisation, political circles on Friday intensified their demand for a probe to ascertain if the ruling party knew beforehand about the move.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya tweeted this story and recalled that the Bengal unit of the BJP had deposited ₹1 crore in not just cash but in ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes hours before the PM announced that the notes would become illegal tender.

To be fair, the BJP had never made any secret of its plans to build its office in each of the country’s 687 districts. The announcement was made in May this year. This followed the ruling party’s decision to build a plush seven storied office in the national capital along with two other blocks.

Nor is it a crime for a political party to purchase land. But did the BJP pay for the land in cash? And in currency notes which it might have known were going to be banned? It has been alleged that the party has also paid in advance and in cash for the construction of its offices.

There are 38 districts in Bihar and the seven documents in the possession of National Herald indicate the BJP registered the seven plots, two of them in Arwal, between September 6 and September 19 this year. The other five plots were purchased in Lakhisarai, Katihar, Madhepura, Madhubani and in Kishanganj. The lowest price of ₹33 lakhs was paid for the two plots in Arwal . Four other plots were priced between ₹60 lakhs and ₹85 lakhs while in Kishanganj the party paid ₹39 lakhs for a 35 Decimal plot of land.

A Bihar government Department of Registration, Excise and Prohibition document shows Bihar BJP leader Dilip Kumar Jaiswal purchased a plot worth ₹85 lakhs in Madhepura District on September 14, 2016, providing address ‘Bharatiya Janata Party 11 Ashok Road New Delhi’

While the deeds were executed by Bihar BJP office bearers Sanjeev Chaurasia, Lal Babu Prasad and Dilip Kumar Jaiswal, the ownership of the land is vested in all cases in either the BJP national president or the party itself with its Ashoka Road office in New Delhi as the address.

If the party pays an average of ₹60 lakh for land in each of the 687 districts, it would end up paying Rs 412 crore for the land alone. In returns submitted to the Election Commission the BJP had claimed to have collected ₹673.81 crore in 2013-14 and ₹969 crore in 2014-15.

Updated: 4.58 pm

The Congress has reacted strongly to news of BJP's pre-demonetisation land purchases.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi tweeted "Fully prepared for demonetization!"

AICC Communications In-charge Randeep Surjewala has published all the documents relating to BJP Bihar’s land purchases on his twitter handle.

Surjewala demanded that BJP reveal accounts of all its state units and headquarters for the past year.

The Statesman reports that the Rashtriya Janata Dal has joined the JD(U), its coalition partner in the Bihar government, to demand a probe into the BJP's land deals before demonetisation.

Manoj Jha, National Spokesperson of RJD said it's clear a lot of deals have taken place behind the scenes.

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Published: 25 Nov 2016, 2:08 PM