The Congress questioned PM Modi and sought to know from him whether he was aware of "clear conflict of interest" in the case.

Land controversy AAP demands resignation of Gujarat CM Congress also targets PM ModiImage source: Anandiben Patel/Facebook
news Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 09:26

AAP on Friday demanded the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and constitution of a probe panel to look into alleged irregularities in allocation of government land near Gir Lion Sanctuary to a company which has business links with her daughter Anar Patel.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said "this is absolutely shocking. How is it different from Vadra deals?", referring to land deals of Robert Vadra.

AAP also threatened to approach the court if formation of a probe committee is not announced in the next seven days.

"Anandiben Patel was the Revenue Minister of Gujarat. Even after becoming the Chief Minister, she retained the portfolio. We demand a high-level committee to probe the matter.

"But before that she must resign as it is not possible to conduct a probe if she is at the helms of affairs, and particularly as the Revenue Minister," AAP leader Ashish Khetan, who looks after party organisation in Gujarat, said.

As per media reports, a company owned by Anar's associates is sitting on 400 acres of land near Gir Lion Sanctuary in the state and 250 acres of that land was given to it at an official rate of Rs 15 per square metre in 2010 when Anandiben was Revenue Minister.

The Congress also latched on to a controversy surrounding Anar to put some questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demand a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe and resignation of the Gujarat CM.

Asking Modi to "come clean" on the issue, the party sought to know from him whether he was aware of "clear conflict of interest" of the then Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel while allocating government land near Gir Lion Sanctuary to a company which allegedly has close business links with her daughter Anar.

"Was this allocation based on a Cabinet decision and endorsed by (then) Chief Minister (Modi) and whether conflict of interest, if any, was disclosed?" said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma at the AICC briefing.

He said the issue would "definitely" be raised in the budget session of Parliament as it pertained directly to the Prime Minister "who has claimed that he has zero tolerance towards corruption".

Sharma said the truth will emerge only through an independent probe by a Supreme Court-monitored SIT as agencies like CBI and ED cannot be trusted.

"We demand that a SIT monitored by the Supreme Court be established for a time-bound probe in the entire matter. For a fair probe, the Gujarat CM must resign," he said.

Quoting information available in public domain, he claimed that in 2010, Gujarat government allotted 250 acres of land next to Gir Lion Sanctuary to Wildwoods Resorts and Realties Pvt Ltd for setting up a resort which was allotted at a price of Rs 15 per square metre or Rs 60,000 per acre.

"Total price of the land, thus, came to only Rs 1.5 crore whereas the estimated market price of this land was to the tune of Rs 50 lakh per acre -- a total of Rs 125 crore for 250 acres.

The company then purchased adjoining agricultural land measuring 172 acres taking the total of land owned by it to 422 acres, Sharma alleged.

As non-farmers are not permitted to purchase agricultural land, the company was granted permission to purchase private agricultural land. In March, 2011, the state government permitted conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural as purchased by the company.

He said one of the partners of the company transferred Wildwoods to another company. He alleged that two promoters of the two companies are said to be business partners of Anar Patel.

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