Uttar Pradesh: Ayodhya Mayor, BJP MLA named in list of illegal land dealers

Accused deny charges, ADA vice chairman flip-flops on stand

Ayodhya land Deal

On Saturday, August 6, the Ayodhya Development Authority (ADA) released a list of illegal land traders, sending shockwaves across Uttar Pradesh. The list had 40 names including that of Ayodhya City Mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay, sitting MLA from the district’s Sadar constituency Ved Prakash Gupta, and former legislator from Milkipur constituency Gorakhnath Baba, reported Indian Express.

The list was signed by the Lekhpal of the ADA. “The list of 40 people who illegally bought land and got construction work done in the authority area was released Saturday night,” ADA Vice Chairman Vishal Singh told news agency Press Trust of India on Sunday.

However, in a subsequent interview to the Indian Express, he claimed, “List is premature and has been purposefully leaked, it seems. It’s wrong.”

A previous investigation by the publication in December last year, had revealed how Gupta’s nephew Tarun Mittal bought 5,174 sq m in Barhata Manjha on November 21, 2019, for Rs 1.15 crore. He had also bought 14,860 sq m in next-door Maheshpur (Gonda) across the river Saryu, nearly 5 km from the temple site, for Rs 4 crore on December 29, 2020, he bought. Upadhyay had bought 1,480 sq m on September 18, 2019, for Rs 30 lakh.

Upadhyay and Gupta, though, have denied any wrongdoing.

Ved Prakash Gupta told the publication, “The Lekhpal has no power to issue such a list. I have no role in any land deals.” Meanwhile, City Mayor Upadhyay said, “Such lists are released after proper investigation only. We have no role in any such illegal land deals.”

According to the Times of India, they are considering filing defamation charges against the ADA.

Not leaving the opportunity to take a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is in power in the state, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in Hindi saying, “We have said this before, we are saying it again… the corrupt people of the BJP should at least leave Ayodhya alone.”



The issue of illegal purchase and sale of land in Ayodhya was raised by grabbing and its illegal trade had been leaders from across party lines in the run up to the State Assembly elections held earlier this year. Lallu Singh, a BJP Member of Parliament from Faizabad, had written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demanding a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the matter.

Meanwhile, Mahant Raju Das of the Hanumangiri temple, who is also a BJP leader, has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case, alleging that powerful members of the bureaucracy are also involved in the illegal land trade, but their names are missing from the list.

The above is significant in light of the Adityanath-led UP government’s crackdown on the so-called “land mafia” as well as encroachers on public land. In fact, a drive will begin soon in Varanasi, another temple town, to remove encroachments from government land to make space for developmental projects. According to the Times of India the Uttar Pradesh administration plans to register the encroachers as “land mafia”, and take “appropriate action” to free the occupied land. Varanasi District Magistrate (DM) Kaushal Raj Sharma had told the publication last week, that head of various departments in the municipality, tehsils, as well as the irrigation and Public Works Department (PWD) have been asked to update their property registers with details of encroachments and encroachers by August 10. He also said that in case they failed to do so, “departments heads will be held accountable,” and that the “anti-land mafia drive will be intensified in the district.”


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