AHMEDABAD: The Congress has demanded the resignation of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel over a controversial land allotment near the Gir lion sanctuary in the state, allegedly at a throwaway price to business associates of her daughter, Anar Patel.
The opposition party has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored investigation and has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of allowing “nepotism, conflict of interest and brazen plundering of public land,” when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.
In 2010, Congress leader Anand Sharma has alleged, the BJP government in Gujarat allotted 250 acres of land next to the lion sanctuary at Rs. 15 a sq metre or Rs. 60,000 an acre to a company called Wildwoods Resorts and Realties, to build a resort that is yet to come up. Mr Sharma alleged that land worth about of Rs. 125 crore was given for 1.5 crore.
The allotment he said was “in gross violation of all known procedures and regulations governing allocation of public land in ecosensitive zones.”According to the Economic Times, Wildwoods’ original promoter Sanjay Dhanak handed control of the company in 2011-12 to businessmen Dakshesh Shah and Amol Sheth, who are allegedly business partners of Anar Patel.
Anandiben Patel was then Gujarat’s revenue minister in the Modi cabinet, handling the department that has charge of such land allotments. She replaced Mr Modi as chief minister in 2014 when he became Prime Minister. Anandiben retains Gujarat’s revenue portfolio.
The Gujarat BJP has dismissed the Congress’ allegations as baseless. “This is Congress’ sinister design to keep themselves visible in media… Anandiben is spotless and will remain so,” said state BJP spokesperson IK Jadeja, adding “all legalities and due process was followed” in the allotment of land.
In a Facebook post Anar Patel said she is a social worker who entered business “to take care of family needs.””I strongly believe that to do ethical business with social morality is everyone’s right. So far what ever I did, I did it in righteous manner building reliability.
I get hurt when people have assumptions and judgements for one’s morality. Truth always prevails and I abide by it with humanity,” Ms Patel said in her post.