RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal, who is embroiled in a controversy over the purchase of forest land in the name of his wife in 2009, today termed the allegations as a “political conspiracy” and said he was open to any probe.
He said he will surrender the land in question, if proven guilty.
“This is not my clarification, rather I am saying that no irregularity was committed while purchasing the land by my family,” Agrawal said in a press conference at his official residence here.
He was referring to the controversy surrounding the purchase of around 4.12 hectares of forest land near a Buddhist site in Mahasamund district in the name of his wife Sarita Agrawal in 2009, which is now being used for constructing a resort.
“The land was procured based on revenue records of the government which stated that its ownership was in the name of the farmer concerned. I had mentioned the property registered in the name of my wife in my affidavit (for the 2013 elections). I am open to a probe by any agencies in the world. I will surrender the land, if I am proven guilty,” he said.
The land, owned by farmer Vishnu Ram Sahu and five others, was donated to the Water Resources Department (WRD) as “daanpatra” (donated for public use) in the erstwhile Madhya Pardesh in 1994.
As per the revenue records, the property in question was part of the total 61.729 hectares of land given to the forest department by the WRD against the forest land falling in the submergence area of an irrigation project in Mahasamund.
However, the possession (ownership) of the land was not changed in the revenue records.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (KMS) convener Lalit Chandranah had yesterday said that the land was sold to Sarita Agrawal, wife of Brijmohan Agrawal, a native of Ramsagar Para (Raipur), by other donors.
Denying any wrongdoing in the registry of the land, the minister said the allegation against him was part of a political conspiracy.
“The issue is nothing, but just a political conspiracy. I would say they (conspirators) should not do the dirty politics of dragging anyone’s family members in false issues, that too when they (referring to his family) are not in politics. I think below-the-belt war should not be done,” he said.
Evading a direct reply to a query on the identity of the “conspirators”, he said, “You (media) know better about this”.
“If it is established after a probe that I have committed anything wrong or the registry was fake, I will surrender this land,” the minister said.
When asked about his terms with Chief Minister Raman Singh, he said, “He is our chief minister and I have nice terms with him”.
On the CM directing the state chief secretary to file a report on the matter, Agrawal said, “He is the CM and it is his responsibility when any issue is brought to his attention. The CM has not sought any explanation (on the land issue) either from the government authorities or the party high command”. TKP NSK SRY